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AM I TO FIND A LITTLE REBEL IX YOU, ANNABEL ? " [Page 46, 



THE CHANNINGS 

BY MES. HENEY WOOD, 

AUTHOR OF 'EAST LYNNE/ 

TWENTY-FIRST EDITION. 




HELSTOKLEIGH CATHEDRAL. 



LONDON: 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON STREET, 

ilublisfjers in ©rlrinarj to f^cr IWajestj. 

1881. 



1881 



I remember the gleams and glooms that dart 

Across the schoolboy's brain ; 
Tlie song and the silence in the heart, 
That in part are prophecies, and in part 
Are longings wild and vain. 
And the voice of that fitful song 
Sings on and is never still : 
* A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.* 

Strange to me now are the forms I meet 

When I visit the dear old town ; 
But the native air is pure and sweet, 
And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street. 
As they balance up and down, 
Are singing the beautiful song. 
Are sighing and whispering still : 
' A boy's will is the wind's will. 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thonghts.* 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTttR »AflC 

I. The Inked Surplice ... ... ... ... 1 

II. Bad News ... ... ... 11 

III. Constance Channing ... ... ... ... 16 

IV. No Holiday To-day ... ... 24 

V. Roland Yorke ... ... ... ... ... 31 

VI. Lady Augusta Yorke at Home ... ... 40 

VII. Mr. Ketch ... ... ... ... ... 4G 

YIIL The Assistant-Organist ... ... ... .'50 

IX. Hamish's Candles ... ... ... ... 61 

X. A False Alarm ... ... ... ... 70 

XI. The Cloister Keys ... ... ... ... 77 

XII. A Mishap to the Bishop of Helstonleigh ... 86 

XIII. Mad ]^ance ... 94 

XIV. Keeping Office ... ... ... ... lOli 

XV. A Splash in the Eiver ... ... ... ... 109 

XVI. Much to alter ... ... ... ... 119 

XVII. Sunday Morning at Mr. Channing's, and at Lady 

Augusta's... ... ... ... ... 125 

XVIII. Mr. Jenkins Alive again ... ... ... ... 134 

XIX. The Loss ... ... ... ... ... 141 

XX. The Looming op an Awful Fear ... ... ... 148 

XXI. Mr. Butterby ... ... ... ... 1,56 

XXII. An Interrupted Dinner ... ... ... ... 164 

XXni. An Escort to the Guildhall ... ... ... 172 

XXIV. The Examination ... ... ... ... ... 176 



ir 



CONTENTS. 



r-nATTF.1t 

XXV. A MoRNixc Call 

XXVI. Checkmated ... 

XXVIT. A Piece of Preferment 

XXVIII. An Appeal to the Dean 

XXIX. A Taste OF 'Tan'... 

XXX. The Departure 

XXXI. Abroad 

XXXII. An Ominous Cough 

XXXIII. No Seniorship for Tom Chanking .. 

XXXIV. Gerald Yorke made into a 'Bf^ock' 
XXXV. The Earl of Carrick 

XXXVI. Ellen Huntley 

XXXVII. The Conspirators ... 

XXXVIII. The Decision ... 

XXXIX. The Ghost 

XL. Mr. Ketch's Evening Visit 

XLI. The Search 

XLII. An Official Ceremony interrupted 

XLIII. Dragging the River 

XLIV. Mr. Jenkins in a Dilemma 

XLV. A New Suspicion ... 

XLVI. A Letter for Mr. Gallon a\ ... 

XLVII. Dark Clouds 

XL VIII. Muffins for Tea 

XLIX. A Chateau en Espagnk 

L. Keally Gone! 

LI. An Arrival in a Fly 

LII. A Eelic from the Burial-Ground 

LIII. The Eeturn Home 

LIV. 'The Ship's Drowned' 

LV. News from Poland 

LVI. The Broken Phial 

LVII. A Ghost again 

LVIII. Bywater's Dance „. 

LIX. Kfady 

LX. In what does it lie? „. 



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462 
475 



THE CHANNINGS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE INKED SURPLICE. 



Tub sweet bells ot Helstonleigh Cathedral were rmging oat in the 
enmmer's afternoon. Groups of people lined the streets, more 
than the customary business of the day would have brought fortn ; 
some pacing with idle steps, some halting to talk with one another, 
gome looking in silence towards a certain point, as far as the eye 
could reach ; all waiting in expectation. 

It was the first day of Helstonleigh Assizes ; that is, the day on 
which the courts of law began their sittings. Generally speaking, 
the commission was opened at Helstonleigh on a Saturday ; but for 
some convenience of the arrangements of the circuit, it was fixed 
this time for Wednesday ; and when those cathedral bells burst 
forth, they gave the signal that the judges had arrived, and were 
entering the sheriflPs carriage, which had gone out to meet them. 

A fine sight, carrying in it much of majesty, was the procession, 
as it passed through the streets with its slow and stately steps ; 
and although Helstonleigh saw it twice a year, it looked at it with 
gi-atified eyes still, and made the day into a sort of holiday. The 
trumpeters rode first, blowing the proud note of advance, and the 
long line of well-mounted javelin men came next, two abreast ; 
their attire being that of the fine livery of the high sheriffs family, 
and their javelins held in rest. Sundry officials followed, and the 
governor of the county gaol sat in an open carriage, his long white 
wand raised in the air. Then appeared the beautiful, closed 
equipage of the sheriff, its four horses, caparisoned with silver, 
pawing the ground, for they chafed at the slow pace to which they 
were restrained. In it, in their scarlet robes and flowing wigs, 
carrying awe to many a young spectator, sat the judges ; the high 
^eriff was opposite to them, and his chaplain by his side, in hit 

B 



U THE CHANNINGS. 

gown aud bands. A crowd of gentlemen, friends of the sheriff, 
followed on horseback ; and a mob of ragamuffins brought up the 
rear. 

To the assize courts the procession took its way, and there the 
short business of opening the commission was gone through, when 
the judges re-entered the carriage to proceed to the cathedral, 
having been joined by the mayor and corporation. The melodious 
bells of Helstonleigh were still ringing out, not to welcome the 
judges to the city now, but as an invitation to them to come and 
worship God. Inside the grand entrance of the cathedral, waiting 
to receive the judges, stood the Dean of Helstonleigh, two or three 
of the chapter, two of the minor canons, and the king's scholars 
and choristers, all in their white robes. The bells ceased ; the fine 
organ pealed out — and there are few finer organs in England than 
that of Helstonleigh — the vergers with their silver maces, and the 
decrepit old bedesmen in their black gowns, led the way to the 
choir, the long scarlet trains of the judges being held up behind : 
and places were found for all. 

The Eev. John Pye began the service; it was his week for 
chanting. He was one of the senior minor canons, and the head- 
master of the college school. At the desk opposite to him sat the 
Eev. William Yorke, a young man who had but just gained his 
minor canonry. 

The service went on smoothly until the commencement of tlie 
anthem. In one sense it went on smoothly to the end, for no 
person present, not even the judges themselves, could see that any- 
thing was wrong. Mr. Pye was what was called ' chanter ' to the 
cathedral, which meant that it was he who had the privilege of 
selecting the music for the chants and other portions of the 
service, when the dean did not do so himself. The anthem he had 
put up for this occasion was a very good one, taken from the 
Psalms of David. It commenced with a treble solo ; it was, 
moreover, an especial favourite of Mr. Pye's; and he disposed 
himself complacently to listen. 

But no sooner was the symphony over, ho sooner had the first 
notes of the chorister sounded on Mr. Pye's ear, than his face 
slightly flushed, and he lifted his head with a sharp, quick gesture. 
That was not the voice which ought to have sung this fine anthem ; 
^hat was a cracked, passee voice, which belonged to the senior 
chorister, a young gentleman of seventeen, who was going out of 
the choir at Michaelmas. He had done good service for the choir 
in his day, but his voice was breaking now; and the last time he 



THE CHANNINGS. 8 

had attempted a solo, the bishop (who interfered most rarely with 
the executive of the cathedral ; and, indeed, it was not his province 
to do so) had spoken himself to Mr. Pye on the conclusion of tho 
service, and said the boy ought not to be put to sing alone again. 

Mr. Pye bent his head forward to catch a glimpse at the choristers, 
five of whom sat on his side the choir, the decani; five on the 
opposite, or cantori side. So far as he could see, the boy, Stephen 
Bywater, who ought to have taken the anthem, was not in his 
place. There appeared to be but four of them ; but the senior boy 
with his clean, starched-out surplice, partially hid those below him. 
Mr. Pye wondered where his eyes could have been, not to have 
noticed the boy's absence, when they had all been gathered round 
the entrance, waiting for the judges. 

Had Mr. Pye's attention not been fully engrossed with his book, 
as the service had gone on, he might have seen the boy opposite to 
him, for there sat Bywater, before the bench of king's scholars, and 
right in front of Mr. Pye. Mr. Pye's glance fell upon him now, 
and he could scarcely believe it : he rubbed his eyes, and looked, 
and rubbed again. Bywater there! and without his surplice! 
braving, as it were, the head-master ! What could he possibly 
mean by this act of defiant insubordination ? Why was he not in 
his place in the school ? Why was he mixing with the congrega- 
tion ? But Mr. Pye could as yet obtain no solution to the mystery. 

The anthem came to an end ; the dean had bent his brow at the 
solo, but it did no good; and, the prayers over, the sheriffs 
chaplain ascended to the pulpit to preach the sermon. He selected 
his text from St. John's Gospel : ' That which is born of the flesh 
is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' In tho 
com-se of his sermon he pointed out that the unhappy prisoners in 
the gaol, awaiting the summons to answer before an earthly tribunal 
for the evil deeds which they had committed, had been led into their 
present miserable condition by the seductions of the flesh. They 
had fallen into sin, he went on, by the indulgence of their passions ; 
they had placed no restraint upon their animal appetites and guilty 
pleasures ; they had sunk gradually into crime, and had now to 
meet the penalty of the law. But did no blame, he asked, attach 
to those who had remained indifferent to their downward course ; 
who had never stretched forth a friendly hand to rescue them from 
destruction ; who had made no effort to teach and guide in the ways 
of truth and righteousness these outcasts of society.? W^ere we, he 
demanded, at liberty to evade our responsibility by asking in the 
words of earth's first criminal, ' \m I my brother's keeper ?' No ; 



I TUE CHANNINGS. 

it was at once oui' duty and our privilege to engage in the noble 
work of man's reformation — to raise the fallen— to seek out the 
lost, and to restore the outcast ; and this, he argued, could only be 
accomplished by a widely-disseminated knowledge of God's truth, 
by patient, self-denying labour in God's work, and by a devout 
dependence on God's Holy Spirit. 

At the conclusion of the service the head-master proceeded to 
the vestry, where the minor canons, choristers, and lay-clerks kept 
their surplices. Not the dean and chapter ; they robed in the 
chapter-house : and the king's scholars put on their surplices in 
the schoolroom. The choristers followed Mr. Pye to the vestry, 
Bywater entering with them. The boys grouped themselves 
together: they were expecting — to use their own expression — a 
row. 

'Bywater, what is the meaning of this conduct?' was the 
master's stem demand. 

'I had got no surplice, sir,' was Bywater's answer— a saucy- 
looking boy with a red face, who had a propensity for getting into 
' rows,' and consequently, punishment. 

' No surplice !' repeated Mr. Pye— for the like excuse had never 
been offered by a college boy before. * What do you mean .?' 

' AVe were ordered to wear clean surplices this afternoon. I 
brought mine to college this morning ; I left it here in the vestry, 
and took the dirty one home. W ell, sir, when I came to put it on 
this afternoon, it was gone.' 

' How could it have gone ? Nonsense, sir ! who would touch 
your surplice?' 

' But 1 could not find it, sir,' repeated Bywater. ' The choristers 
know I couldn't ; and they left me hunting for it when they went 
into the hall to receive the judges. I could not go into my stall, 
sir, and sing the anthem without my surplice.' 

' Hurst had no business to sing it,' was the vexed rejoinder of 
the master. ' You know your voice is gone. Hurst. You should 
have gone up to the organist, told him the case, and had another 
anthem put up.' 

' But, sir, I was expecting Bywater in every minute. I thought 
he'd be sure to find his surplice somewhere,' was Hurst's defence. 
' And when he did not come, and it got too late to do anything, I 
judged it better to take the anthem myself than to give it to a 
junior, who would be safe to have made a mull of it. Better for 
the judges and other strangers tc hear a faded voice in Helstou* 
ioigh Cathedral, than to hear bad singing.' 



THE CHANNING8. 5 

The master did not speak. So far, Hurst's arfj^iment liad 
reason. 

* And— I beg your pardon for what I am about to say, sir,' Hurst 
went on, * but I hope you will allow me to assure you beforehand, 
that neither I, nor my juniors under me, have had a hand in this 
affair. Bywatcr has just told me that the surplice is found, and 
how ; and blame is sure to be cast to us ; but I declare that not 
one of us has been in the mischief.' 

Mr. Pye opened his eyes. * What now ?' he asked. * What is 
the mischief ?' 

'I found the surplice afterwards, sir,' Bywater said. 'This 
is it.' 

He spoke meaningly, as if preparing them for a surprise, and 
pointed to a corner of the vestry. There lay a clean, but tumbled 
surplice, half soaked in ink. The head-master and Mr. Yorke, 
the lay-clerks and choristers, all gathered round, and stared in 
amazement. 

' They shall pay me the worth of the surplice,' spoke Bywater, 
an angry shade crossing his usually good-tempered face. 

* And get a double flogging into the bargain,' exclaimed the 
master. ' Who has done this ?' 

*It looks as though it had been rabbled up for the purpose,' 
cried Hurst, in his schoolboy phraseology, bending down and 
touching it gingerly with his finger. ' The ink has been poured 
on it.' 

'Where did you find it?' sharply demanded the master — not 
that he was angry with the boys before him, but he felt angry in 
his mind that the thing should have taken place, 

' I found it behind the screen, sir,' replied Bywat'^r. * 1 thought 
I'd look there, as a last resource, and there it was, I should think 
aobody has been behind that screen for a twelvemonth past, for 
it's over the ankles in dust there.' 
y And you know nothing of it, Hurst ?' 

' Nothing whatever, sir,' was the reply of the senior chorister, 
spoken earnestly. ' When Bywater whispered to me what had 
occurred, I set it down as the work of one of the choristers, and I 
taxed them with it. But they all denied it strenuously, and I 
believe they spoke the truth. I put them on their honour.' 

The head-master peered at the choristers. Innocence was in 
every face — not guilt ; and he, with Hurst, believed he must look 
elsewhere for the culprit. That it had been done by a college boy 
there could be no doubt whatever ; either out of spite to Bywateri 



6 THE OHANNII^GS. 

or irom pure love of mischief. The king's scholars had no business 
in the vestry ; but just at this period the cathedral was undergoing 
repairs, and they could get in if bo minded, at any time of the day, 
the doors being left open for the convenience of the workmen. 

The master turned out of the vestry. The cathedral was emptied 
of its crowd, leaving nothing but the dust to tell of what had been, 
and the bells once more went pealing forth over the city. Mr. Pye 
crossed tno nave, and quitted the cathedral by the cloister door, 
followed by the choristers. The schoolroom, once the large refec- 
tory of the monks in monkish days, was on the opposite side of the 
cloisters; a large, largo room, which you gained by steps, and 
whose high windows were many feet from the ground. Could you 
nave climbed to those windows, so as to look from them, you would 
have beheld a fair scene. A clear river wound under the cathedral 
walls ; beyond its green banks were greener meadows, stretching 
out in the distance ; far-famed hills, beautiful to look at, bounding 
the horizon. Close by, were the prebendal houses: some built 
with red stone, some covered with ivy, all venerable with age ; 
pleasant gardens surrounded most of them, and dark old elms tow- 
ered aloft, sheltering the rooks, which seemed as old as the trees. 

The king's scholars were in the schoolroom, cramming their sur- 
plices into bags, or preparing to walk home with them thrown upon 
their arms, and making enough hubbub to alarm the rooks. It 
dropped to a dead calm at sight of the master. On holidays — and 
this was one — it was not usual for the masters to enter the school 
after service. The school was founded by royal charter — its num- 
ber limited to forty boys, who were called king's scholars, ten of 
whom, those whose voices were the best, were chosen choristers. 
The master marched to his desk, and made a sign for the boys to 
approach, addressing himself to the senior boy. 

' Gaunt, some mischief has been enacted in the vestry, touching 
Bywater's surplice. Do you know anything of it .?" 

'No, sir,' was the prompt answer. And Gau"^t was one who 
scorned to tell a lie. 

The master ranged his eyes round the circle. ' Who does ?' 

There was no reply. The boys looked at one another, a sort of 
stolid surprise for the most part predominating. Mr. Pye re- 
sumed : — 

' Bywater tells me that he left his clean surplice in the vestry 
this morning. This afternoon it was found throwii behind the 
screen, tumbled together, beyond all doubt purposely, and partially 
covered with ink. I ask, who has done this ?' 



\ 



THE CHANNINGR. 7 

* I have not, sir,' burst forth from most of the boys shnultaneously. 
The seniors, of whom there were three besides Gaunt, remained 
silent. But this was nothing unusual ; for the seniors, unless ques- 
tioned expressly or taxed with a fault, did not accustom themselves 
to a voluntary denial. 

' I can only think this has been the result of accident,' continued 
the head-master : ' it is incredible to suppose any one of you would 
wantonly destroy a surplice. If so, let that boy, whoever ho may 
have been, speak up honourably, and I will forgive him. I conclude 
that the ink must have been spilt upon it, I say accidentally, and 
that he then, in his consternation, tumbled the surplice together, 
and threw it out of sight behind the screen. It had been more 
straightforward, more in accordance with what I wish you all to 
be — boys of. thorough truth and honour — had he candidly confessed 
to it. But the fear of the moment may have scared his good judg- 
ment away. Let him acknowledge it now, and I will forgive him ; 
though of course he must pay Bywater for another surplice.' 

A dead silence. 

' Do you hear, boys?' the master sternly asked. 

No answer from any one; nothing but the continued silence. 
The master rose, and his countenance assumed its most severe ex- 
pression. 

' Hear further, boys. That it is one of you, I am convinced ; 
and your refusing to speak compels me to fear that it was not 
an accident, but a premeditated, wicked act. I now warn you, 
whoever did it, that if I can discover the author or authors, he or 
they shall be punished with the utmost severity, short of expulsion, 
that is allowed by the rules of the school. Seniors, I call upon 
your aid in this. Look to it.' 

The master quitted the schoolroom, and Babel broke loose — 
questioning, denying, protesting, one of another. Bywater was 
surrounded. 

'Won't there be a stunning flogging? Bywater, who did it? 
Do you know ?' 

Bywater sat himself astride over the end of a bench, and nodded. 
The senior boy turned to him, some slight surprise in his look and 
tone. 

* Do you know, Bymater ?' 

* Pretty well, Gaunt. There are two fellows in this school, one's 
ftt your desk, one's at the second desk, and I believe they'd either 
of them do me a nasty turn if they could. It was one of them.' 

'^VIio d'ye mean?' asked Gaunt eagerly. 



8 THE CHANNING8. 

By water laughed. * Thank you. If I tell now, it may defeat 
the ends of justice, pb the newspapers say. I'll wait till I am sure 
— and then, let him look to himself. / won't spare him, and I don't 
fancy Pye will.' 

' You'll never find out, if you don't find out at once, By water,* 
cried Hurst. 

* Sha'n't I ? You'll see,' was the significant answer. * It's some 
distance from here to the vestry of the cathedral, and a fellow 
could scarcely steal there and steal back without being seen by 
somebody. It was done stealthily, mark you ; and when folks go 
on stealthy errands they are safe to be met.' 

Before he had finished speaking, a genteel-looking boy of about 
twelve, -vi^ith delicate features, a damask flush on his face, and wavy 
auburn hair, sprang up with a start. ' Why !' he exclaimed, ' I 

saw ' And there he came to a sudden halt, and the flush on his 

cheek grew deeper, and then faded again. It was a face of exceed- 
ing beauty, refined almost as a girl's, and it had gained for him in 
the school the sobriquet of ' Miss.' 

'■ What's the matter with you, Miss Charley ?' 

* Oh, nothing, Bywater.' 

' Charley Channing, exclaimed Gaunt, ' do you know who did 
it?' 

' If I did, Gaunt, I should not tell,' was the fearless answer. 

* Do you know it, Charley ?' cried Tom Channing, who was one 
of the seniors of the school. 

* Where's the good of asking that wretched little mufi"?' burst 
forth Gerald Yorke. ' He's only a girl. How do you know it was 
not one of the lay-clerks, Bywater ? They carry ink in their poc- 
kets, I'll lay. Or any of the masons might have gone into the 
vestry, for the matter of that.' 

' It wasn't a lay-clerk, and it wasn't a mason,' stoically nodded 
Bywater. ' It was a college boy. And I shall lay my finger upon 
him as soon as I am a little bit surer than I am. I am three parts 
sure now.- 

'If Charley Channing does not suspect somebody, I'm not here,' 
exclaimed Hurst, who had closely watched the movement spoken 
of; and he brought his hand down fiercely on the desk as he spoke. 
' Come, Miss Channing, just shell out what you know ; it's a shame 
the choristers should lie under the ban : and of course we shall do 
60, with Pye.' 

*You be quiet, Hurst, and let Miss Charley alone,' drawled By- 
water. ' I don't want him, or anybody else to get pummelled tc 



THE CHANNINGB. 



powder; I'll fiud it out for myself, I say. Won't my old aunt be 
in a way though, when she sees the surplice, and finds she has got 
another to make ? I say. Hurst, didn't you croak out that solo ! 
Their lordships in the wigs will be soliciting your photograph as a 



* I hope they'll set it in diamonds,' retorted Hurst. 

The boys began to file out, putting on their trenchers, as they 
clattered down the steps. Charley Channing sat himself down in 
the cloisters on a pile of books, as if willing that the rest should 
pass out before him. His brother saw him sitting there, and came 
up to him, speaking in an undertone : — 

' Charley, you know the rules of the school : one boy must not 
tell of another. As By water says, you'd get pummelled to powder.' 

' Look here, Tom. I tell you — ' 

'Hold your tongue, boy!' sharply cried Tom Channing. *Do 
you forget that I am a senior? You heard the master's words. 
We know no brothers in school life, you must remember.' 

Charley laughed. * Tom, you think I am a child, I believe. 1 
didn't enter the school yesterday. All I was going to tell you was 
this : I don't know, any more than you, who inked the surplice ; 
and suspicion goes for nothing.' 

*A11 right,* said Tom Channing, as he flew after the rest; and 
Charley sat on, and fell into a reverie. 

The senior boy of the school, you have heard, was Gaunt. The 
other three seniors, Tom Channing, Harry Huntley, and Gerald 
Yorke, possessed a considerable deal of power ; but nothing equal 
to that vested in Gaunt. They had all three entered the school on 
the same day, and had kept pace with each other as they worked 
their way up in it, consequently not one could be said to hold the 
priority; and when Gaunt should quit the school at the following 
Michaelmas, one of the three would become senior. AVhich ? you 
may wish to ask. Ah, we don't know that, yet. 

Charley Channing — a truthful, good boy, full of integrity, kina 
and loving by nature, and a universal favourite— sat tilted on the 
books. He was washing with all his heart that he had not seen 
something which he had seen that day. He had been going 
through the cloisters in the afternoon, about the time that all 
Helstonleigh, college boys included, were in the streets watching 
for the sheriff's procession, when he saw one of the seniors steal 
(By water had been happy in the epitliet) out of the cathedral into 
the quiet cloisters, peer about him, and then throw a broken ink- 
bottle over into the graveyard which the cloisters enclosed. The 



XO THE CHANNINGS. 

boy stole away without perceiving Charley ; and there sat Charley 
now, trying to persuade himself by some ingenious sophistry— 
which, however, he knew ^ras sophistry — that the senior might not 
have been the one in the mischief ; that the ink-bottle might have 
been on legitimate duty, and that he threw it from him because it 
was broken. Charles Channing did not like these unpleasant 
secrets. There was in the school a code of honour— the boys 
called it so — that one should not tell of another ; and if the head- 
master ever went the length of calling the seniors to his aid, those 
seniors deemed themselves compelled to declare it, if the fault 
became known to them. Hence Tom Channing's hasty arrest of 
nis brother's words. 

' I wonder if I could see the ink-bottle there ?' quoth Charles to 
himself. Eising from the books he ran through the cloisters to a 
certain part, and there, by a dexterous spring, perched himself on 
to the frame of the open muUioned windows. The gravestones lay 
pretty thick in the square, enclosed yard, the long, dank grass grow- 
ing around them ; but there appeared to be no trace of an ink-bottle. 

* What on earth are you mounted up there for ? Come down 
instantly. You know the row there has been about the walls 
getting defaced.' 

The speaker was Gerald Yorke, who had come up silently. 
Openly disobey him, young Channing dared not, for the seniors 
exacted obedience in school and out of it. ' I'll get down directly, 
sir. I am not hurting the wall.' 

' What are you looking at ? What is there to see ?' demanded 
Yorke. 

'Nothing particular. I was looking for what I can't see,* 
pointedly retui'ned Charley. 

* Look here, Miss Channing ; I don't quite understand you to- 
day. You were excessively mysterious in the school, just now, 
over that surplice affair. Who's to know you were not in the 
mess yourself?' 

* I think you might know it,' returned Charley, as he jumped 
down. ' It was more likely to have been you than I.' 

Yorke laid hold of him, clutching his jacket with a firm grasp. 
' You insolent ape on two legs ! Now ! what do you ,mean ? You 
don't stir from here till you tell me.' 

* I'll tell you, Mr. Yorke ; I'd rather tell,' cried the boy, sinking 
his voice to a whisper. ' I was here when you came peeping out 
of the college doors this afternoon, and I saw you come up to this 
niche, and fling away an ink-bottle.' 



i 



THE CHANNINGS. 11 

Yorke's face flushed scarlet. He was a tall, strong fellow, with 
ft pale complexion, thick, projecting lips, and black hair, promising 
fair to make a Hercules — but all the Yorkes were finely framed. 
He gave young Channing a taste of his strength ; the boy, when 
shaken, was in his hands as a very reed. ' You miserable imp ! 
Do you loiow who is said to be the father of lies ?' 

'Let me alone, sir. It's no lie, and you know it's not. But 
I promise you on my honour that 1 won't split. I'll keep it iu 
close ; always, if I can. The worst of me is, I bring things out 
sometimes without thought,' he added ingenuously. 'I know 
I do ; but I'll try and keep in this. You needn't be in a passion, 
Yorke ; I couldn't help seeing what I did. It wasn't my fault.' 

Yorke's face had gone purple with anger. ' Charles Channing, 
if you don't unsay what you have said, I'll beat you to within an 
inch of your life.' 

'I can't unsay it,' was the answer. 

' You can't !' reiterated Yorke, grasping him as a hawk would a 
pigeon. *How dare you brave me to my presence? Unsay the 
lie you have told.' 

' I am in God's presence, Yorke, as well as in yours,' cried the 
boy, reverently ; * and I will not tell a lie.' 

* Then take your whacking I I'll teach you what it is to invent 
fabrications ! I'll put you up for ' 

Yorke's tongue and hands stopped. Turning out of the private 
cloister entrance of the deanery, right upon them, had come Dr. 
Gardner, one of the prebendaries. He cast a displeased glance at 
Yorke, not speaking ; and little Channing, touching his trencher to 
the doctor, flew to the place where he had left his books, caught 
them up, and ran out of the cloisters towards home. 



CHAPTER II. 

BAD KEWS. 

The ground near the cathedral, occupied by the deanery and the 
prebendal residences, was called the * Boundaries.' There were a 
few other houses in it, mostly of a moderate size, inhabited by 
private families. Across the open gravel promenade, in front ol 
the south cloister entrance, was the house appropriated to the 
head-master ; and the Channings lived in a smaller one, nearly ou 
the confines of the Boundaries. A portico led into it, and there 



12 THE CHANNINQS. 

was a sitting-room on either side the hall. Charley entered ; and 
was going, full dash, across the hall to a small room where the 
boys studied, singing at the top of his voice, when the old servant 
of the family, Judith, an antiquated body, in a snow-white mob- 
cap and check apron, met him, and seized his arm. 

' Hush, child ! There's ill news in the house.' 

Charley dropped his voice to an awe -struck whisper. * What is 
it, Judith ? Is papa worse ?' 

* Child ! there's illness of mind as well as of body. I didn't say 
sickness ; I said ill news. I don't rightly understand it ; the 
mistress said a word to me, and I guessed the rest. And it was 
me that took in the letter ! Me! 1 wish I had put it in my kitchen 
fire first !' 

*Is it — Judith, is it news of the — the cause? Is it over ?' 

* It's over, as I gathered. 'Twas a London letter, and it came 
by the afternoon post. All the poor master's hopes and depend- 
encies for years have been wrested out of him. And if they'd give 
me my way, I'd prosecute them postmen for bringing such ill luck 
to a body's door.' 

Charles stood, something like a statue, the bright, sensitive 
colour deserting his cheek. One of those causes, Might versus 
Right, of which there are so many in the world, had been pending 
in the Channing family for years and years. It involved a con- 
siderable amount of money, which ought, long ago, to have de- 
volved peaceably to Mr. Channing ; but Might was against him, 
and Might threw it into Chancery. The decision of the Yico- 
Chancellor had been given for Mr. Channing, upon which Might, in 
his overbearing power, carried it to a higher tribunal. Possibly the 
final decision, from which there could be no appeal, had now come. 

' Judith,' Charles asked, after a pause, ' did you hear whether — 
whether the letter — I mean the news — had anything to do with 
the Lord Chancellor ?' 

* Oh, bother the Lord Chancellor!' was Judith's response. 'It 
had to do with somebody that's an enemy to your poor papa. '' 
know that much. Who's this ?' 

The hall door had opened, and Judith and Charles turned 
towards it. A gay, bright-featured young man of three-and- 
twenty entered, tall and handsome, as it was in the nature of the 
Channings to be. He was the eldest son of the family, James ; or, 
as he was invariably styled, Hamish. He rose six foot two in his 
Btockings, was well made, and upright. In grace and strength oJ 
frame tlie Yorkes and the Channings stood A 1 in Helstonleigh. 



TnS CHA^NING8. l3 

'JNow, then! What are you two concocting? Is he coming 
over you again to let him make more toffy, Judy, and burn out tho 
bottom of another saucepan ?' 

' Hamish, Judy says there's some bad news come in by the 
London post. I am afraid the Lord Chancellor has given judgment 
— given it against us.' 

The careless smile, the half-mocking expression left the lips of 
flamish. He glanced from Judith to Charles, from Charles to 
Judith. ' Is it sure V he breathed. 

' It's sure that it's awful news of some sort,' returned Judith ; 
* and the mistress, she said to me that all was over now. They be 
all in there, but you two,' pointing with her finger to the parlour 
on the left of the hall ; ' and you had better go in to them. Master 
Hamish — ' 

*■ Well ?' returned Hamish, in a tone of abstraction. 

' You must every one of you just make the best of it, and com* 
fort the poor master. You be young and strong ; while ho— you 
know what he is. You, in special, Master Hamish, for you're the 
eldest born, and were tho first of 'em as ever I nursed upon my knee.' 

*0f course — of course,' ho hastily replied. 'But, oh, Judith! 
you don't know the half of the ill this must bring upon us ! Come 
along, Charley ; let us hear the worst.' 

Laying his urni with an affectionate gesture round the boy's 
neck, Hamish drew him towards the parlour. It was a square, 
light, cheerful room. Not the best room : that was on the other 
side the hall. On a sofa, underneath the window, reclined Mr. 
Channing, his head and shoulders partly raised by cushions. His 
illness had continued long, and now, it was feared, had become 
chronic. A remarkably fine specimen of manhood he must have 
been in his day, his countenance one of thoughtful goodness, plea- 
sant to look upon. Arthur, the second son, had inherited its 
thoughtfulness, its expression of goodness ; James, its beauty ; but 
there was a gi-eat likeness between all the four sons. Arthur, but 
nineteen, was nearly as tall as his brother. He stood bending over 
the arm of his father's sofa. Tom, looking sadly blank and cross, 
sat at the table, his elbows leaning on it. Mrs. Channing's pale, 
sweet face was bent towards her daughter's, Constance, a graceful 
girl of one-and-twenty ; and Annabel, a troublesome young lady of 
nearly fourteen, was surreptitiously giving twitches to Tom's hair. 

Arthur moved from the place next his father when he saw 
Hamish, as if yielding him the right to stand there. A more 
united, cordial family it would be impossible to find. The brotheri 



14 THE CHANNINGS. 

and sisters loved each other dearly, and Hamish they almost 
reverenced— paving Annabel. Plenty of love the child possessed ; 
but of reverence, little. With his gay good humour, and his in- 
dulgent, merry-hearted spirit, Hamish Channing was one to earn 
love as his right, somewhat thoughtless though he was. Thoroughly 
well, in the highest sense of the term, had the Channings been 
reared. Not of their own wisdom had Mr. and Mrs. Channing 
trained their children. 

* What's the matter, sir ?' asked Hamish, smoothing his brow, 
and suHering the hopeful smile to return to his lips. 'Judith says 
some outrageous luck has arrived ; come express, by post.' 

' Joke while you may, Hamish,' interposed Mrs. Channing, in a 
low voice ; ' I shrink from telling it you. Can you not guess the 
news ?' 

Hamish looked round at each, individually, with his sunny smile, 
and then let it rest upon his mother. ' The very worst I can guess 
is not so bad. We are all here in our accustomed health. Had wo 
sent Annabel up in that new balloon they are advertising, I might 
fancy it had capsized with her — as it ivill some day. Annabel, 
never you be persuaded to mount the air in that fashion.' 

'Hamish! Hamish!' gently reproved Mrs. Channing. But per- 
haps she discerned the motive which actuated him. Annabel 
clapped her hands. She would have thought it great fun to go up 
in a balloon. 

' Well, mother, the worst tidings that the whole world could 
bring upon us cannot, I say, be very dreadful, while we can discuss 
them as we are doing now,' said Hamish. '1 suppose the Lord 
Chancellor has pronounced against us T 

' Irrevocably. The suit is for ever at an end, and we have lost it.' 

'Hamish is right,' interrupted Mr. Channing. 'When the letter 
came, I was for a short while overwhelmed. But I begin to see it 
already in a less desponding light ; and by to-morrow I dare say I 
shall be cheerful over it. One blessed thing — children, I eay it 
advisedly, a " blessed" thing — the worry will be over.' 

Charley lifted his head. ' The worry, papa?' 

•Ay, my boy. The agitation— the perpetual excitement — the 
sickening suspense — the yearning for the end. You cannot under- 
strnd this, Charley ; you can none of you picture it, as it has been, 
for me. Could I have got abroad, like other men, it would have 
shaken itself oft' amidst the bustle of the world, and have pressed 
upon me only at odd times and seasons. But here have I lain; 
that suspense my companion always. It was not right, so to allow 



THE CHANNINGS. 15 

the anxiety to work upon me : but I could not help it ; I really 
could not.' 

' We shall manage to do without it, papa,' said Arthur. 

' Yes ; after a bit, we shall manage very well. The worst is, wo 
are backward in our payments ; for you know how surely I counted 
upon it. It ought to have been mine ; it was mine by the full right 
of justice, though it now seems the law was against me. It is a 
great affliction ; but it is one of those which may be borne with an 
open brow.' 

'What do you mean, papa?' 

* Afflictions are of two kinds— as I class them. The one we bring 
upon ourselves, through our own misconduct; the other is laid 
upon us by God for our real advantage. Yes, my boys, we receive 
many blessings in disguise. Trouble of this sort will only serve U 
draw out your manly energies, to make you engage vigorously ii 
the business of life, to strengthen your self-dependence and youi 
trust in God. This calamity of the lawsuit we must all meel 
bravely. One mercy, at any rate, the news has brought with it.' 

* What is that ?' asked Mrs. Channing, lifting her sad face. 
*When I have glanced to the possibility of the decision being> 

against me, I have wondered Jww I should pay the long and heavy 
costs ; whether our home must not be broken up to do it, and our- 
selves turned out upon the world. But the costs are not to fall upon 
me ; all are to be paid out of the estate.' 

' There's good news !' ejaculated Hamish, his face radiant, as he 
nodded around. 

' My darling boys,' resumed Mr. Channing, ' you must all work 
and do your best. I had thought this money would have made 
things easier for you ; but it is not to be. Not that I would have 
a boy of mine cherish for a moment the sad and vain dream which 
some do — that of living in idleness. God has sent us all into the 
world to work ; some with their hands, some with their heads ; all 
according to their abilities and their station. You will not be the 
wo:'se off,' Mr. Channing added with a smile, * for working a bit 
harder than you thought would be necessary.' 

' Perhaps the money may come to us, after all, by some miracle, 
suggested Charley. 

* No,' replied Mr. Channing. ' It has gone wholly from us. It 
is as much lost to us as though we had never possessed a claim to it.* 

It was even so. This decision of the Lord Chancellor had taken 
U from the Channing family for ever. 

* Never mind !' cried Tom, throwing up his trencher, which ho 



16 THE CHA^'xN'INCJS. 

had carelessly carried into the room with him. ' As papa says, we 
have our hands and brains : and they often win the race against 
money in the long run.' 

Yes. The boys had active hands and healthy brains — no de- 
spicable inheritance, when added to a firm faith in God, and an 
ardent wish to use, and not misuse, the talents given to them. 



CHAPTER III. 

CONSTANCE CHANNING. 



How true is the old proverb—' Man proposes and God disposes V 
God's ways are not our ways. His dealings with us are often 
mysterious : happy those, who can detect His hand in all the varied 
chances and changes of the world. 

I am not sure that we can quite picture to ourselves the life that 
had been Mr. Channing's. Of gentle birth, and reared to no pro- 
fession, the inheritance which oilght to have come to him was 
looked upon as a sufficient independence. That it would come to 
him, had never been doubted by himself or by others ; and it was 
only at the very moment when he thought he was going to take 
possession of it, that some enemy set up a claim and threw it into 
Chancery. You may cavil at the word "enemy," but it would 
certainly not be looked upon as the act of a friend. By eveiy right, 
by every justice, it belonged to James Channing ; but he who put 
in his claim, taking advantage of a quibble of law, was a rich man 
and a mighty one. I should not like to get possession of another 
person's money in such manner. I should have the good, old- 
ashioned, wholesome fear upon me, that it would bring no good 
either to me or mine. 

James Channing never supposed but the money would be his 
some time. Meanwhile he sought and obtained employment to 
occupy his days, to bring * grist to the mill,' until the patrimony 
should come. Hoping, hoping, hoping on ; hoping and disappoint- 
ment, hoping and disappointment — there was nothing else for 
years and years; and you know who has said, that 'Hope de- 
ferred maketh the heart sick.' There have been many such cases 
in the world, but I question, I say, if we can quite realize them. 
However, the end was come — the certainty of disappointment* 
and Mr. Channing was already beginning to be thankful that the 
suspense, at any rate, was over. 



THE 0HANNING8. 11 

He v/as the head of an office — or it may be more correct to say 
the head of the llelstonleigh branch of it, for the establishment was 
a London one — a large, important concern, comprising various 
departments of insurance. Hamish was in the same oflSce; and 
since Mr. Channing's rheumatism had become chronic, it M^as 
Hamish who chiefly transacted the business at the office, generally 
bringing home the books when he left, and going over them in the 
evening with Mr. Channing. Thus the business was as effectually 
transacted, and Mr. Channing retained his salary. The directors 
were contented that it should be so, for Mr. Channing possessed 
their thorough respect and esteem. 

After the ill news was communicated to them, the boys left the 
parlour, and assembled in a group in the study, at the back of th« 
house, to talk it over. Constance was with them, but they woulo 
not admit Annabel. A shady, pleasant, untidy room was that 
study, opening to a cool, shady garden. It had oil-cloth on the 
floor instead of carpeting, and books and playthings were strewed 
about it. 

' What an awful shame it is there should be so much injustice in 
the world !' spoke passionate Tom, flinging his ' Euripides ' on the 
table. 

' But for one thing, I should be rather glad the worry's over,' 
cried Hamish. ' We know the worst now — that we have only our- 
selves to trust to.' 

' Our hands and brains, as Tom said,' remarked Charley. * What 
is the " one thing " that you mean, Hamish ?' 

Hamish laid hold of Charley by the waist, lifted him up, and let 
him dro;} again. ' It is what does not concern little boys to know : 
and I don't see why you should be in here with us, young sir, any 
more than Annabel.' 

' A presentiment that this would be the ending has been upon 
me some time,' broke in the gentle voice of Constance. * In my 
own mind I have kept laying out plans for us all. You see, it la 
not as though we should enjoy the full income that we have 
hitherto done.' 

' AVhat's that, Constance ?' asked Tom hotly. * The decision 
does not touch papa's salary ; and you heard him say that the costs 
were to be paid out of the estate. A pretty thing it would be if 
any big-wigged Lord Chancellor could take away the money that a 
man works hard for !' 

' Hasty, as usual, Tom,' she said with a smile. * You know — w« 
all know — that, counting fully upon this money, papa i^ behind ia 



18 THE CHANNINGS. 

his payments , lliey must be paid oflf now in the best way that 
may be : and it will take so much from his income. It ^vill make 
no difference to you, Tom ; all you can do, is to try on heartily for 
the seniorship and the exhibition.' 

* Oh, won't it make a diiferencc to me, though !' retorted Tom. 
* And suppose I don't gain it, Constance ?' 

* Then you will have to work all the harder, Tom, in some other 
walk of life. Failing the exhibition, of course there will be no 
chance of your getting to the university ; and you must give up 
hopes of entering the Church. The worst oflf— the one upon whom 
this disappointment must fall the hardest — will be Arthur.' 

Arthur Channing — astride on the arm of the old-fashioned sofa — 
lifted his large deep blue eyes to Constance, with a flash of intelli- 
gence : it seemed to say, that she only spoke of what he already 
knew. He had been silent hitherto ; he was of a silent nature: a quiet, 
loving, tender nature : while the rest spoke, lie was content to think. 

* Ay, that it will !' exclaimed Hamish. * What will become of 
your articles now, Arthur ?' 

It should be explained that Arthur had entered the office of Mr. 
Galloway, who was a proctor, and also was steward to the Dean 
and Chapter. Arthur was only a subordinate in it, a clerk upon 
pay — and upon very short pay, too ; but it was intended that ho 
should enter upon his articles as soon as this money should bo 
theirs, to enable IMr. Channing to pay for them. Hamish might 
well ask what would become of his articles now ! 

* I can't see a single step before me,' cried Arthur. ' Save that I 
must stay on as I am, a paid clerk.' 

•What rubbish, Arthur!' flashed Tom, who possessed a con- 
siderable share of temper when it was touclied. * As if you, Arthur 
Channing, could remain a paid clerk at Galloway's ! Why, you'd 
be on a level with Jenkins— old Jenkins's son. Eoland Yorke ivould 
look down on you then ; worse than he does now And that need 
not be !' 

The sensitive crimson dyed the fair open brow of Arthur. Of 
all the failings that he found it most difficult to subdue in his 
own heart, pride bore the greatest share. From the moment the 
ill-news had come to his father, the boy felt that ho should have to 
do fierce battle with his pride ; that there was ever-recurring 
mortification laid up in store for it. ' But I can battle with it,' he 
bravely whispered to himself: * and I will do it. God helping me.' 

*I may whistle for my new cricket-bat and stumps now, 
grumbled Tom. 



THE CHANNINGS. 19 

*And I wonder when I shall get my new clolhcs?' added 
Charley. 
*How selfish we all are !' broke forth Arthur. 
'Selfish?' chafed Tom. - 

* Yes, selfish. Here we are, croaking over our petty disappomt- 
ments, and forgetting the worse share that falls upon papa. 
Failing this money, how will he get to the German baths ?' 

A pause of consternation. In their own grievances the boys had 
lost sight of the hope which had recently been shared by them all. 
An eminent physician, passing through Helstonleigh, had seen Mr. 
Channing, and given his opinion that if he would visit certain 
medicinal spas in Germany, health might be restored to him. 
AVhen the cause should be terminated in their favoui*, Mr. Channing 
had intended to set out. But now it was given against him ; and 
hope of setting out was gone. 

* I wish I could carry him on my back to Germany, and work 
to keep him while he stayed there!' impulsively spoke Tom. 
* Wretchedly selfish we have been, to dwell on our disappointments, 
by the side of papa's. I wish I was older.' 

Constance was standing against the window. She was of middle 
height, thoroughly ladylike and graceful; her features fair and 
beautiful, and her dark-blue eyes and smooth white brow wonder- 
fully like Arthui''s. She wore a muslin dress with a delicate pink 
sprig upon it, the lace of its open sleeves falling on her pretty 
white hands, which were playing unconsciously with a sprig of 
jessamine, while she listened to her brothers as each spoke. 

' Tom,' she interposed, in answer to the last remark, ' it is of no 
use wishing for impossibilities. We must look steadfastly at things 
as they exist, and see what is the best that can be made of them. 
All that you and Charles can do is to work well on at youi* studies 
— Annabel the same ; and it is to be hoped this blow will take some 
of her flightiness out of her. Hamish, and Arthur, and I, must try 
and act more actively.' 

'You!' echoed Arthur. 'Why, what can you do, Constance?' 

A soft blush rose to her cheeks. ' I tell you that I have seemed 
to anticipate this,' she said, ' and my mind has busied itself with 
plans and projects. I shall look out for a situation as daily 
governess.' 

A groan of anger burst from Tom. His quick temper, and 
Arthur's pride, alike rose up and resented the words. ' A daily 
governess! It is only another name for servant. Fine, that 
would be, for Miss Channing !' 

2 



20 THE CHANNIXGS. 

Constance laughed. ' Oh, Tom ! there are worse misfortunes at 
sea. I would go out wholly, but that papa would not like to spare 
me, and I must take Annabel for music and other things in an 
evening. Don't look cross. It is an excellent thought; and I 
eha'n't mind it.' 

' What will mamma say ?' asked Tom, ironically. * You just ask 
her! 

'Mamma knows,' replied Constance. 'Mamma has had her 
fears about the termination of the lawsuit, like I have. Ah ! 
while you boys were laughing and joking, and pursuing your 
sports or your studies of a night, I and mamma would be talking 
over the shadowed future. I told mamma that if the time and the 
necessity came for my turning my education and talents to account, 
I should do it with a willing heart; and mamma, being rather 
more sensible than her impetuous son Tom, cordially approved.' 

Tom made a paper bullet and flung it at Constance, his honest 
eyes half laughing. 

*So should I approve,' said Ilamish. * It is a ^oc-o taking into 
consideration my father's state, in which all of us oiiuuld help who 
are able. Oi course, were you boys gi'own up and getting money, 
Constance should be exempt from aiding and abetting ; but as it is, 
it is different. There will be no disgrace in her becoming a 
governess ; and Helstonleigh will never think it. She is a lady 
always, and so she would be if she were to turn to and wash up 
dishes. The only doubt is ' 

He stopped, and looked hesitatingly at Constance. As if pene- 
trating his meaning her eyes fell before his. 

' Whether Yorke will like it,' went on Hamish, as thougli he 

had made no halt in his sentence. And the pretty blush in 
Constance Channing's face deepened to a hot glowing crimson ; 
and Tom made a whole heap of bullets at once, and showered them 
on to her. 

* So Hamish — be quiet, Tom ! — you may inquire all over Helston- 
leigh to-morrow, whether anybody wants a governess ; a well- 
trained young lady of twenty-one, who can play, and sing, and 
paint, and speak really good English, and decent French, and has 
a smattering of German,' rattled on Constance, as if to cover her 
blushes. ' I shall ask forty guineas a year. Do you think I shall 
get it ?' 

' 1 think you ought to ask eighty,' said Arthur. 

' So I would, if I were thirty-one instead of twenty-one,' saf.i 
Constance. * Oh dear ! here am I, laughing and joking over it, 



THE CHANNINGS. 21 

but it is a serious thing to undertake — the instruction of the young. 
I hope I shall be enabled to do my duty in it. What's that?' 

It was a merry, mocking laugh, which came from the outside of 
the window, and then a head of auburn hair, all wild and entangled, 
was pushed up, and in burst Annabel, her saucy dark eyes dancing 
with delight. 

* You locked mo out, but I have been outside the window and 
heard it all,' cried she, dancing before them in the most provoking 
manner. ' Arthur can only bo a paid clerk, and Constance is going 
to be a governess and get forty guineas a year, and if Tom doesn't 
gain his exhibition he must turn boll-ringer to the college, for papa 
can't pay for him at the university now !' 

'What do you deserve, you wicked little picture of deceit: 
demanded Hamish. ' Do you forget the old story of the listener 
who lost his ears ?' 

' I always do listen whenever I can, and I always will,* avowed 
Annabel. * I have warned you so a hundred times over, and now 
T warn you again. I wish Tom ivould turn bell-ringer ! I'd make 
him ring a peal that should astonish Helstonleigh, the day Con- 
stance goes out as governess. Shan't I have a fine time of it! 
It's lessons for me now, morning, noon, and night, — she's always 
wonying me ; but, once let us get her back turned, and I shall 
have whole holiday ! She may think I'll do my lessons with her at 
night ; but I won't !' 

The boys began to chase her round the table. She was nearly a 
match for all four— a troublesome, indulged, sunny-hearted child, 
who delighted in committing faults, that she might have the 
pleasure of avowing them. She got out into the garden, first 
knocking over Constance's paint-box, and some of them went after 
her. 

At that moment Mr. Yorke came in. You have seen him once 
before, in his place in Helstonleigh Cathedral : a tall, slender man. 
with pale, well-formed features, and an attractive smile. His dark 
eyes rested on Constance as he entered, and once more the brilliant 
colour lighted up her face. When prospects should be a little 
better — that is, when Mr. Yorke should get a sufiicient living 
bestowed upon him — Constance was to become his wife. His 
stipend from the minor canonry was at present but trifling. 

' Judith met me in the hall as I was going into the parlour, and 
told me I had better come here,' he observed. ' She said bad news 
had arrived for Mr. Channing.' 

' Yes,' answered Hamish. * The lawsuit is lost.* 



22 THE CHANNINGS. 

' Losl !' echoed Mr. Yorke. 

' Irrevocably. Wo were discussing ways and means amongsfc 
ourselves,' said Hamish, 'for of course this changes prospects 
iaaterially.' 

' And Constance is going out as a governess, if she can get 
anybody to take her, and Arthur is to plod on with Joe Jenkins, 
and Tom means to apply for the post of bell-ringer to the cathe- 
dral,' interposed the incorrigible Annabel, who had once more 
darted in, and heard the last words. ' Can you recommend 
Constance to a place, Mr. Yorke ?' 

He treated the information lightly; he laughed at and with 
Annabel ; but Constance noticed that a flush crossed his brow, and 
that he quitted the subject. 

'Has the inked surplice been found out, Tom, — I mean the 
culprit ?' 

' Not yet, Mr. Yorke.' 

' Charles, you can tell me who it was, I hear ?' 

There was a startled glance for a moment in Charles's eye, as 
he looked up at Mr. Yorke, and an unconscious meaning in his 
tone. 

' ^Vhy, do you know who it was, sir ?' 

' Not I,' said Mr. Yorke. ' I know that, whoever it may have 
been, he deserves a sound flogging, if he did it wilfully.' 

' Then, sir, why do you suppose I know ?' 

' I met Hurst just now, and he stopped me, with the news that 
he was sure Charley Channing could put his hand upon the 
oflfender, if he chose to do it. It was not yoiyiself, was it Charley ?' 

Mr. Yorke laughed as he asked the question. Charley laughed 
also, but in a constrained manner. Meanwhile the others, to whom 
the topic had been as Sanscrit, inquired an explanation, which 
Mr. Yorke gave, so far as his cognisance went. 

' What a shame to spoil a surplice ! Ha\'e you cause to suspect 
any particular boy, Charley ?' demanded Hamish. 

' Don't ask him in my presence,' interrupted Tom in the same 
hurried manner that he had used in the cloisters. * I should be 
compelled in honour to inform the master, and Charley would get 
liis life thrashed out of him by the school.' 

' Don't tjou ask me, either, Mr. Yorke,' said Charles; and the tone 
of his voice, still unconsciously to himself, bore a strangely serious 
earnestness. 

' Why not ?' returned Mr. Yorke. ' I am not a senior of the 
college school, and under obedience to its head-master.' 



THE OHANNINGS. 23 

* If you are all to stop in this room, I and Tom sliall never get 
our lessons done,' was all the reply made by Charles, as he drew a 
chair to the table and opened his exercise books. 

* And I never could afford that,' cried Tom, following his 
example, and looking out the books he required. * It won't do to 
let Huntley and Yorke get ahead of me/ 

' Trying for the seniorship as strenuously as ever, Tom ?' asked 
Mr. Yorke. 

' Of course I am,' replied Tom Channing, lifting his eyes in sh'ght 
surprise. ' And I hope I shall get it.' 

' Which of the three stands the best chance ?' 

' "Well,' said Tom, • it will be about a neck-and-neck race between 
us. My name stands first on the rolls of the school ; therefore, 
were our merits equal, in strict justice it ought to be given to me. 
But the master could pass me over if ho pleased, and fix upon 
either of the other two.' 

' Which of those two stands first on the rolls ?' 

' Harry Huntley. Yorke is the last. But that does not count 
for much, you know, Mr. Yorke, as we all entered together. They 
enrolled us according as our initial letter stood in the alphabet.' 

' It will turn wholly upon your scholastic merits, then ? I 
hear —but Helstonleigh is famous for its gossip — that in past times 
it has frequently gone by favour.' 

' So it has,' said Tom Channing, throwing back his head with a 
whole world of indignation in the action. ' Eligible boys have been 
passed over, and the most incapable dolt set up above them ; all 
because his friends were in a good position, and hand-in-glove with 
the head-master. I don't mean Pye, you know : before he came. 
It's said the last case was so flagrant that it got to the ears of the 
dean, and he interfered and forbid favour for the future. At any 
rate, there's an impression running through the school that merits 
and conduct, taken together, will be allowed fair play.' 

* Conduct ?' echoed Arthur Channing. 

Tom nodded : — ' Conduct is to be brought in, this time. One 
day, when the first desk got into a row with the head-master, 
through some mischief we had gone into out of school, he asked ua 
if we were aware that our conduct, as it might be good or ill, 
might gain or lose us the seniorship. Yorke, who is bold enough, 
you know, for ten, remarked that that was a new dodge, and the 
master overheard the words, and said. Yes, he was happy to say 
there were many new " dodges "he had seen fit to introduce, which 
he trusted might tend to make the school different from what it 



24 THE CHANNINGS. 

had been. Of course we had the laugh at Yorke ; but the master 
took no more notice. Since then, I assure you, Mr. Yorke, our 
behaviour has been a pattern for young ladies — mine, and Huntley's, 
and Yorke's. We don't care to lose a chance.' 

Tom Channing nodded sagaciously as ho concluded, and they 
left the room free for him and Charles. 



CHAPTER IV. 

NO HOLIDAY TO-DAY. 

* Now, Constance, that we have a moment alone, what is this about 
you ? began Mr. Yorke, as they stood together in the garden. 

' Annabel said the truth — that I do think of going out as daily 
governess,' she replied, bending over a carnation to hide the blush 
which rose in her cheeks, a very rival to the blushing flower. ' It 
is a great misfortune that has fallen upon us — at least we can only 
look at it in that light at present, and will, beyond doubt, bo 
productive of some embarrassment. Do you not see, William, that 
it is incumbent upon us all to endeavour to lighten this embarrass- 
ment, those of us who can ? I must assume my share.* 

Mr. Yorke was silent. Constance took it for granted that he 
was displeased. He was of a very good family, and she supposed 
he disliked the step she was about to take — that he deemed it would 
be derogatory to his future wife. 

* Have you fully made up your mind ?' he at length asked. 

* Yes. I have talked it over with mamma — for indeed she and [ 
both seem to have anticipated this — and she thinks with me, that 
it is what I ought to do. William, how could I reconcile it to my 
conscience not to help ?' she continued. ' Think of papa ! think of 
his strait ! It appears to be a plain duty thrown in my path.' 

' By y-'iirself, Constance ?' 

' Not by myself,' she whispered, lifting for a moment her large 
I4ue eyes. * WUliam, William, do not be displeased with me ! 
do not forbid it ! It is honourable to work — it is right to do what 
we can. Strive to see it in the right light.' 

* Let that carnation alone, Constance, give your attention to me. 
What if I do forbid it?' 

She walked a little forward, quitting the carnation bed, and 
halted under the shade of the dark cedar tree, her heart and her 
colour alike fading. Mr. Yorke followed and stood before her. 



THE CHANNINQS. 2t$ 

* William, 1 must do my duty. There is no other ^vay open to 
me, by which I can earn something to help in this time of need, 
save that of becoming a governess. Many a lady, better born than 
I, has done it before me.' . 

' A daily governess, I think you said ?' 

' Papa could not spare me to go out entirely ; Annabel could not 
spare me ; and ' 

'I would not spare you,' he struck in, filling up her pause. 
* Was that what you were about to say, Constance ?' 

The rosy hue stole over her face again, and a sweet smile to her 
lips : ' William, if you will but sanction it ! I shall go about it 
then with the lightest heart !' 

He looked at her with an expression she did not understand, and 
shook his head. Constance thought it a negative shake, and her 
hopes fell again. 'You did not answer my question,' said Mr. 
Yorke. * What if I forbid it ?' 

' But it seems to be my duty,' she urged from between her palo 
and parted lips. 

' Constance, that is no answer.' 

* Oh do not, do not ! William, do not you throw this temptation 
in ray way — the choosing between yourself and the plain duty that 
lies before me.' 

' The temptation, as you call it, must be for a later consideration. 
Why will you not reply to me ? What would be your course if 1 
forbade it ?' 

' I do not know. But, William, if you gave me up ' 

She could not continue. She turned away to hide her face from 
Mr. Yorke. He followed and obtained forcible view of it. It was 
wet with tears. 

' Nay, but I did not mean to carry it so far as to cause you real 
grief, my dearest,' he said in a changed tone. ' Though you brought 
it on yourself,' he added, laughing, as he bent his face down. 

' How did I bring it on myself?' 

* By doubting me. I saw you doubted me at the first, when 
Annabel spoke of it in the study. Constance, if you, possessed as 
you are of suitable acquirements, refused from any notion of false 
pride, to exert them for your family in a time of need, I should 
say you were little fitted for the wife of one whose whole duty 
it must be to do his Master s work.' 

* You will sanction the measure then ?' she rejoined, her counte- 
nance lighting up. 

' How could you doubt me ? I wish I could make a home at 



26 THE CHANNINGS. 

CQce to bring you to ; but as you must remain in this a little longer, 
it is only fair that you should contribute to its maintenance. We 
all have to bend to circumstances. I shall not love my wife the 
less, because she has had the courage to turn her talents to account. 
What could you be thinking of, child ?' 

' Forgive me, William,' she softly pleaded. ' But you looked so 
grave and wore so silent.' 

Mr. Yorko smiled. 'The truth is, Constance, I was turning 
about in my mind whether I could not help to place you, and 
pondering the advantages and disadvantages of a situation I know 
of. Lady Augusta is looking out for a daily governess.' 

' Is she ?' exclaimed Constance. ' I wonder whether — I — should 
suit her?' 

Constance spoke hesitatingly. The thought which had flashed 
over her own mind was, whether Lady Augusta Yorke could afford 
to pay her suitable remuneration. Probably the same doubt had 
made one of the 'disadvantages' hinted at by Mr. Yorke. 

' I called there yesterday, and inteiTupted a " scene " between 
Lady Augusta and Miss Caroline,' he said. * Unseemly anger 'on 
my lady's part, and rebellion on Carry's, forming, as usual, its chief 
features.' 

' But Lady Augusta is so indulgent to her children !' interrupted 
Constance. 

' Peniiciously indulgent, generally ; and when the effects break 
out in • insolence and disobedience, then there ensues a scene. If 
you go there you will witness them occasionally, and I assure 
you they are not edifying. You must endeavour to train the girls 
to something better than they have been trained to yet, Constance.* 

.'Ifldogo.' 

*I knew how long it would last. Lady Augusta's instructing 
them herself,' resumed Mr. Yorke. ' It is not a month since the 
governess left.' 

' Why does she wish to take a daily governess instead of one in 
the house ?' 

' Why Lady Aug-usta does a thing, is scarcely ever to be 
accounted for, by herself or by anybody else !' replied Mr. Yorke. 
' Some convenience, or inconvenience, she mentioned to me, about 
the sleeping arrangements. Shall I ascertain particulars for you, 
Constance ; touching salary and other matters ?' 

' If you please. Papa is somewhat fastidious ; but he could not 
object to my going there ; and its being so very near our own house 
would be a great point of ' 



J 



THE CHANNINGS. 27 

* Constance !' interrupted a voice at this juncture. * Is Mr. 
STorke there ?' 

'lie is here, mamma,' replied Constance, walking forward to 
Mrs. Channing, Mr. Yorke attending her. 

* I thought I heard you enter,' she said, as Mr. Yorke took hor 
hand. ' Mr. Channing will be pleased to see you, if you will come 
in and chat with him. The children have told you the tidings. It 
is a great detriment to their prospects.' 

' But they seem determined to bear it bravely,' he answered in a 
hearty tone. *You may be proud to have such children, Mrs. 
Channing.' 

' Not proud,' she softly said. ' Thankful !' 

* True. I am obliged to you for correcting me,' was the clergy- 
man's ingenuous answer, as he walked, with Mrs. Channing, across 
the hall. Constance halted, for Judith came out of the kitchen, 
and spoke in a whisper — 

' And what's the right and the wrong of it, Miss Constance ? Is 
the money gone ?' 

' Gone entirely^ Judith. Gone for good.' 

' Tor good !' gTunted Judith ; ' I should gay for iU. Why do the 
Queen let there be a Lord Charicellor ?' 

' It is not the Lord Chancellor's fault, Judith. Ho only ad- 
ministers the law.' 

' Why couldn't he just as well have given it for your papa, as 
against him ?' 

* I suppose he considers that the law is on the other side,' sighed 
Constance. 

Judith, with a pettish movement, returned to the kitchen ; and 
at that moment Ilamish came down the stairs. He had changed 
his dress, and had a pair of new white gloves in his hand. 

* Are you going out to-night, Hamish ?' 

There was a stress on the word ' to-night,' and Hamish marked 
it. 'I promised, you know, Constance. And my staying away 
would do no good ; it could not make things better. Fare you 
well, my pretty sister. Tell mamma I shall be home by eleven.' 

* It'll be a sad cut down for 'em all,' muttered Judith, gazing at 
Hamish round the kitchen door-post. * Where he'll find money for 
his white gloves and things now, is beyond my telling, the darling 
boy ! If I could but get to that Lord Chancellor !' 

Had you possessed the privilege of living in Helstonleigh at the 
time of which this story treats — and I can assure you you might live 
in a less privileged city— it is possible that, on the morning following 



28 THE CHANNINGS. 

tlie above events, your peaceful slumbers might have been rudely 
broken by a noise, loud enough to waken the seven sleepers of 
Ephesus. 

Before seven o'clock, the whole school, choristers and king's 
scholars, assembled in the cloisters. But, instead of entering the 
schoolroom for early school, they formed themselves into a dense 
mass (if you ever saw schoolboys march otherwise, I have not), 
and, treading on each other's heels, proceeded through the town to 
the lodgings of the judges, in pursuance of a time-honoured 
custom. There the head-boy sent in his name to the very chamber 
of the Lord Chief Justice, who happened this time to have come 
to the Helstonleigh circuit. 'Mr. Gaunt, senior of the college 
school ' — craving holiday for himself, and the whole fry who had 
attended him. 

' College boys !' cried his lordship, winking and blinking, like 
other less majestic mortals do when awoke suddenly out of their 
morning sleep. 

' Yes, my lord,' replied the servant. ' All the school's come up ; 
such a lot of 'em ! It's the holiday they are asking for,' 

' Oh, ah, I recollect,' cried his lordship — for it was not the first 
time he had been to Helstonleigh. ' Give one of my cards to the 
senior boy, Eoberts. My compliments to the head-master, and I 
beg he will grant the boys a holiday.' 

Eoberts did as he was bid — he also had been to Helstonleigh 
before with his master — and delivered the card and message to 
Gaunt. The consequence of which v/as, the school tore through the 
streets in triumph, shouting, ' Holiday 1' to be heard a mile off, and 
bringing people hot, and in white garments, from their beds to the 
windows. The least they feared was, that the town had taken 
fire. 

Back to the house of the head-master for the pantomime to be 
played through. This usually was (for the master, as wise on the 
subject as they were, would lie that morning in bed) to send the 
master s servant into his room with the card and the message ; 
upon which the permission for the holiday would come out, and 
the boys disperse, exercising their legs and lungs. No such luck 
however, on this morning. The servant met them at the door, 
and grinned dreadfully at the lot. 

' Won't you catch it, gentlemen ! The head-master's gone into 
school, and is waiting for you ; marking you all late, of course.' 

* Gone into school 1' repeated Gaunt, haughtily, resenting the 
familiarity, as well as the information. ' What do you mean V 



THE CHANNINGS. 5J0 

*Wliy, 1 just mean that, sir/ was the reply, upon which Gaunt 
felt uncommonly inclined to knock him down. But the man had a 
propensity for grinning, and was sure to exercise it on all possible 
occasions. 'There's some row up, and you are not to have 
holiday,' continued the servant ; ' the master said last night I was 
to call him this morning as usual.' 

At this unexpected reply, the boys slunk away to the college 
nchoolroom, their buoyant spirits sunk down to dust and ashes — 
as may be figuratively said. They could not understand it ; they 
had not the most distant idea what their offence could have been. 
Gaunt entered, and the rest trooped in after him. The head- 
master sat at his desk in stern state : the other masters were in 
their places. 

'What is the meaning of this insubordination?' the master 
sharply demanded, addressing Gaunt. ' You are three quarters of 
an hour behind your time.' 

'We have been up to the judges, as usual, for holiday, sir,' 
replied Gaunt, in a tone of deprecation. ' His lordship sends hia 
card and compliments to you, and ' 

'Holiday!' interrupted the master. * Holiday!' ho repeated, 
with emphasis, as if disbelieving his own ears. * Do you deem that 
the school deserves it ? A pretty senior you must be, if you do.' 

' What has the school done, sir ?' respectfully asked Gaunt. 

'Your memory must be conveniently short,' chafed the master. 
' Have you forgotten the inked surplice ?' 

Gaunt paused. * But that was not the act of the whole school, 
sir. It was probably the act of only one.' 

'But, so long as that one does not confess, the whole school 
must bear it,' returned the master, looking round on the assembly. 
' Boys, understand me. It is not for the fault itself— that may 
have been, as I said yesterday, the result »f accident ; but it is the 
concealment of the fault that makes me angry. Will you confess 
now ?— he who did it ?' 

No ; the appeal brought forth no further result than the other 
one had done. The master contir ^ed : 

' You may think— I speak now to the guilty boy, and let him 
take these words to himself — that you were quite alone when you 
did it ; that no eye was watching. But let me remind you that 
the ey^ of God was upon you. What you refuse to tell. He can 
bring to light, if it shall so please Him, in His own wonderful way 
His OAvn good time. There will be no holiday to-day. Prayers.' 

The boys fell into their places, and stood with hanging heads 



30 THE OHANNINGS 

something like rebellion working in every breast. At breakiast- 
time they were dismissed, and gathered in the cloisters to give 
vent to their sentiments. 

' Isn't it a stunning shame ?' cried hot Tom Channing. ' The 
school ought not to suifer for the fault of one boy. The master 
has no right ' 

' The fault lies in the boy, not in the master,' interrupted Gaunt. 
* A sneak ! a coward ! If he has got a spark of manly honour in 
him, he'll speak up now.' 

' As it has come to this, I say Charley Channing should be made 
to declare what he knows,' said one. ' He saw it done !' 

* Who says he did ?' quickly asked Tom Channing. 
' Somebody said so ; and that he was afraid to tell.' 

Gaunt lifted his finger, and made a sign to Charles to approach. 
' Now, boy' — as the latter obeyed — 'you will answer me, remember. 
The master has called the seniors to his aid, and I order you to 
speak. Did you see this mischief done ?' 

' No, I did not !' fearlessly replied little Channing. 

* If he doesn't know, he suspects,' persisted Hurst. * Come, Miss 
Channing.' 

' We don't declare things upon suspicion, do we, Mr. Gaunt V 
appealed Charles. ' 1 may suspect one ; Hurst may suspect another ; 
By water said he suspected two ; the whole school may be sus- 
picious, one of another. Where's the use of that T 

'It is of no us<?,* decided Gaunt. ' You say you did not see the 
surplice damaged .''' 

' I did not ; upon my word of honour.' 

'That's enough,' said Gaunt. 'Depend upon it, the fellow, 
while he was at it, took precious good precautions against being 
seen. When he gets found out, he had better not come within 
reach of the seniors ; I warn him of that : they might not leave 
him a head on his shoulders, or a tooth in his mouth.' 

' Suppose it should turn out to have been a senior, Mr. Gaunt ?' 
spoke Bywater. 

'Suppose you should turn out to be an everlasting big donkey V 
retorted the senior boy. 



TKB OHANNINQB. 81 



CHAPTER Y. 

EOLAND YOllKE. 

Just without the Boundaries, in a wide, quiet street, called Close 
Street, was the oflBce of Eichard Galloway, Esquire, Proctor, and 
Steward to the Dean and Chapter. Save for this solitary office, 
the street consisted of private houses, and it was one of the 
approaches to the cathedral, though not the chief one. Mr. 
Gallowaj was a bachelor; a short, stout man, shaped liked a 
butter-cask, with a fat, round face, round, open, grey eyes — that 
always looked as if their owner were in a state of wonder— and 
a little round mouth. But he was a shrewd man and a capable : 
he was also, in his way, a dandy; dressed scrupulously in the 
fashion, with delicate shirt fronts and snow-white ^vristbands ; and 
for the last twenty-five years, at least, had been a mark for all the 
single ladies of Helstonleigh to set their caps at. 

Of beauty, Mr. Galloway could boast little ; but of his hair ho 
was moderately vain : a very good head of hair it was, curling 
naturally. But hair, let it be luxuriant enough to excite the 
admiration of a whole army of coiffeurs, is, like other things in this 
sublunary world of ours, subject to change ; it will not last for ever ; 
and Mr. Galloway's, from a fine and glossy brown, turned, as years 
went on, to sober grey — nay, almost to white. He did not parti- 
cularly admire the change, but he had to submit to it ; Nature is 
stronger than we are. A friend hinted that it might be ' dyed.' 
Mr. Galloway resented the suggestion: anything false was 
abhorrent to him. When, however, after an illness, his hair began 
to fall off alarmingly, he thought it no harm to use a certain 
specific, emanating from one of Her Majesty's physicians ; exten- 
sively set forth and patronized as an undoubted remedy for the 
falling off of hair. Mr. Galloway used it extensively in his fear, 
for he had an equal dread both of baldness and wigs. The lotfon 
not only had the desired effect, but it had more : the hair grew on 
again luxuriantly, and its grey-whiteness turned into the finest 
flaxen you ever saw ; a light delicate shade of flaxen, exactly like 
the curls you see upon the heads of blue-eyed wax dolls. This is a 
fact : and whether IMr, Galloway liked it, or not, he had to put up 



S2 THE CHANNINGS. 

with it. Many would not be persuaded but what he had used some 
delicate preparation of dye, hitherto unknown to science : and the 
suspicion vexed Mr, Galloway. Behold him, therefore, with a 
perfect shower of smooth, fair curls upon his head, like any young 
beau. 

It was in this gentleman's office that Arthur Channing had been 
placed, with a view to his becoming ultimately a proctor. To 
article him to Mr. Galloway wouJd take a good round sum of 
money ; and this had been put off until the termination of the suit, 
when Mr. Channing had looked forward to being at his ease, in 
regard to pecuniary means. There were two otliers in the same 
office : the one was Eoland Yorke, who was articled ; the other 
was Joseph Jenkins, a thin,. spare, humble man of nine-and-thirty, 
who had served Mr. Galloway for nearly twenty years, earning 
twenty-five shillings per week. He was a son of old Jenkins the 
bedesman, and his wife kept a small hosiery shop in High Street. 
Eoland Yorke was, of course, not paid ; on the contrary, ho had 
paid pretty smartly to Mr. Galloway for the privilege of being 
initiated into the mysteries pertaining to a proctor. Arthur 
Channing may be said to have occupied a position in the office 
midway between the two. He was to become on the footing ol 
Eoland Yorke ; but meanwhile, he received a small sum weekly, in 
remuneration of his services, like Joe Jenkins did. Eoland Yorke, 
in his proud moods, looked down upon him as paid clerk ; Mr. 
Jenkins looked up to him as a gentleman. It was a somewhat 
anomalous position ; but Arthur had held his own bravely up in it 
until this blow came, looking forward to a brighter time. 

In the years gone by, one of the stalls in Helstonleigh Cathedral 
was held by the Eeverend Dr. Yorke : he had also some time filled 
the office of sub-dean. He had married, imprudently, the daughter 
of an Irish peer, a pretty, good-tempered girl, who was as fond of 
extravagance as she was devoid of means to support it. She 
had not a shilling ; it was even said that the bills for her wedding 
clothes came in afterwards to Dr. Yorke : but people, you know, 
are given to talk scandal. Want of fortune had been nothing, had 
Lady Augusta but possessed common prudence ; but she spent tho 
doctor's money faster than it came in. In tho course of yean 
Dr. Yorke died, leaving eight children, and slender means for them. 
There were six boys and two girls. Lady Augusta went to reside 
in a cheap and roomy house (somewhat dilapidated) in the 
Boundaries, close to her old prebendal residence, and scrambled on 
in her careless, spending fashion, never out of debt. She retained 



THE CHANNINGS. 88 

their old barouche, and ivould retain it, and was a great deal too 
fond of ordering horses from the livery stables and driving out in 
state. Gifted with good parts and qualities had her children been 
born ; but of training, in the highest sense of the word, she had 
given them none. George, the eldest, had a commission, and was 
away with his regiment ; Eoland, the second, had been designed 
for the Church, but no persuasion could mduce him to be sufficiently 
attentive to his studies to qualify himself for it ; he was therefore 
placed with Mr. Galloway, and the Church honours were now 
intended for Gerald. The fourth son, Theodore, was also in the 
college school, a junior. Next came two girls, Caroline and Fanny, 
and there were two little boys younger. Haughty, self-willed, but 
of sufficien-i;ly honourable nature, were the Yorkes. If Lady 
Augusta had but toiled to foster the good, and eradicate the evil, 
they would have grown up to bless her. Good soil was there to 
work upon, as there was in the Channings ; but, in the case of the 
Yorkes, it was allowed to nin to waste, or to generate weeds. 
In short, to do as it pleased. 

A noisy, scrambling, uncomfortable sort of home was that of 
the Yorkes; the boys sometimes contending one with another, 
Lady Augusta often quarrelling with all. The home of the 
Channings was ever redolent of love, calm, and peace. Can you 
giiess where the difference lay ? 

On the morning when the college boys had gone up to crave 
holiday of the judges, and had not obtained it — at least not from 
the head-master — Arthur Channing proceeded, as usual, to Mr. 
Galloway's, after breakfast. Seated at a desk, in his place, 
writing — ho seemed to be ever seated there — was Mr. Jenkins. 
He lifted his head when Arthur entered, with a ' Good morning, 
sir,' and then dropped it again over his copying. 

'Good morning,' replied Arthur. And at that moment Mr. 
Galloway — his flaxen curls in full flow upon his head, something 
like rings — came forth from his private room. ' irood morning, 
sir,' Arthur added, to his master. 

jNIr. Galloway nodded a reply to the salutation. * Have you seen 
anything of Yorke ?' he asked. • I want that deed that lie's about 
linished as soon as possible.' 

' He will not be an instant,' said Arthur. * I saw him coming up 
tlio street.' 

Poland Yorke bustled in ; a dark-looking young man of twenty- 
one, with large but fine features, and a countenance expressive of 
indecision. 



84 THE OHANNINGB. 

' Come, Mr. Yorke, you promised to be here early to-day. 5f oa 
know that deed is being waited for.' 

* So I am early, sir,' returned Eoland. 

' Early ! for you perhaps,' grunted Mr. Galloway. ' Get to it at 
once.' 

Eeland Yorke unlocked a drawer, collected sundry parchments 
together, and sat down to his desk. He and Arthur had their 
places side by side. Mr. Galloway stood ^t a table, and began 
sorting some papers that were upon it. 

*How is Mr. Channing this morning, Arthur?' 

*Much as usual, thank you, sir. Certain news, which arrived 
last evening, has not tended to cheer him.' 

* It is true, then ?' remarked Mr. Galloway. x neard a rumour 
of it.' 

' Oh, it's true enough,' said Arthur. ' It is in all the morning 
papers.' 

* Well, there never was a more unjust decision !' emphatically 
spoke Mr. Galloway. * Mark you, I am not reflecting on the Lord 
Chancellor's judgment. I have always said that there were one or 
two nasty points in that suit, which the law might get hold of; but 
I know the whole cause by heart, from beginning to end ; and that 
money was as much your father's, as this coat, that I have on, is 
mine. Tell him I'll come in one of these fine evenings, and abuse 
the injustice of our laws with him, — will you ?' 

* Yes, sir,' replied Arthur. 

' What's this row in the college school about a destroyed sur- 
plice, and the boys not getting their holiday through it?' resumed 
Mr. Galloway. 

* Oh, are they not savage !' struck in Eoland Yorke. * The first 
thing Tod did, when he came home to breakfast, was to fling over 
his bowl of coffee, he was in such a passion. Lady Augusta — she 
got up to breakfast this morning, for a wonder — boxed his ears, and 
ordered him to drink water; but he went into the kitchen, and got 
a lot of chocolate made for himself.' 

* What are the particulars ? How was it done ? I cannot under- 
stand it at all,' said Mr. Galloway. 

* By water left his clean surplice yesterday in the vestry, and 
somebody threw ink over it— half soaked it in ink, so the choristers 
told Tom,' answered Arthur Channing. * In the afternoon— they 
had service late, you know, sir, waiting for the judges — Bywater 
was not in his place to sing the anthem, and Hurst sang it, and it 
put the master out very much.' 



THE CHANKINGS. 86 

* Put him out all the more that he has got nobody to punish for 
it,' laughed lioland Yorke. ' Of course By water couldn't appear in 
his stall, and sing the anthem, if he had no surplice to appear in ; 
and the master couldn't tan him for not doing it. I know this, if it 
had happened while I was in the college school, I'd just have skinned 
some of the fellows alive, but what I'd have made them confess.* 

' Suppose you had skinned the wrong paii;y ?' cynically observed 
Mr. Galloway. ' You are too hasty with your tongue, Eoland 
Yorke. My nephew, Mark, ran in just now to tell me of the holi- 
day being denied, and that was the first I had heard of the affair. 
Mark thinks one of the seniors was in it ; not Gaunt.' 

Arthur Channing and Eoland Yorke both looked up with a sharp 
quick gesture. Gaunt excepted, the only senior, besides their 
respective brothers, was Harry Huntley 

' It is not likely, sir,' said Arthur. 

'A senior do it!' scoffed Eoland Yorke. 'What a young idiot 
Mark Galloway must be, to think that I' 

* Mark does not seem to think much about it on his own account,' 
said Mr. Galloway. * He said Bywater thought so, from some 
cause or other; and has offered to bet the whole school that it will 
turn out to be a senior.' 

'Does he, though !' cried Yorke, looking puzzled. 'By water's a 
cautious fellow with his money ; he never bets at random. 1 say, 
sir, what else did Galloway tell you ?' 

' That was all,' replied Mr. Galloway. And if you wonder at a 
staid old proctor chattering over this desultory news with his 
clerks in business hours, it may be explained to you that Mr. Gallo- 
way took the greatest possible interest, almost a boyish interest, in 
the college school. It was where he had been educated himself, 
where his nephews were being educated ; he was on intimate terms 
with its masters; knew every boy in it to speak to; saw them 
troop past his house daily on their progress to and fro ; watched 
them in their surplices on a Sunday, during morning and afternoon 
service ; was cognisant of their advancement, their shortcomings, 
their merits, and their scrapes : in fact the head-master could not 
take a greater interest in the doings of the collegiate school, than 
did Mr. Galloway. Whether of work, or whether of gossip, his 
ears were ever open to listen to its records. Besides, they were 
not so overburthened with work in that office, but what there was 
ample time for discussing any news that might be agreeable to its 
master. His work was light ; his returns were heavy ; his steward- 
ship alone brought him in several hundreds a year. 

D 2 



So THE CHANNINGS. 

* The Reverend Mr. Pye seems uncommonly annoyed about it, 
sir,' Mr. Jenkins ventured to put in. To interrupt, or take part iu 
any conversation, was not usual with him, unless he could com- 
municate little tit-bits of information touching the passiag topic. 
'You are aware that Mr. Harper, the lay-clerk, lodges at our 
house, sir. Well, Mr. Pye came round last night, especially to 
question him about it.' 

' What could Harper tell?' asked Mr. Galloway. 

' He could not tell anything ; except that he would answer for 
the lay-clerks knowing nothing of the transaction. The master 
said he never supposed the lay-clerks did know anything of it, but 
he had hi;3 reasons for putting the question. He had been to the 
masons, too, who are repairing the cathedral ; and they declared to 
the master, one and all, that they had not been into the vestry 
yesterday, or even round to that side of the college where the 
vestry is situated.' 

' Why should the master take it up so pertinaciously ?' wondered 
Roland Yorke. 

* I'm sure I don't know, sir. He was Hke one in a fever, so 
excited over it. Harper said.' 

' Did he talk to you about it, Jenkins ?' asked Mr. Galloway. 

' I did not see him, sir ; it was Harper told me afterwards,' was 
the reply of Mr. Jenkins, as he subsided to his writing again. 

Just at this juncture, who should come in view of the window 
but the head-master himself. He was passing it with a quick step, 
when out flew Mr. Galloway, and caught him by the button. 
Roland Yorke, who was ever glad of a pretext for idleness, rose 
from his stool, and pushed his nose close upon the nearest pane, to 
listen to any colloquy that might ensue; but, the window being 
open, he might have heard without quitting his s«at. 

' I hear the boys have not got a holiday to-day, Pye,' began Mr. 
Galloway. 

' No, that they have not,' emphatically pronounced the master ; 

* and, if they go on as they seem to be going on now, I'll keep them 
without it for a twelvemonth. I believe the inking of that surplico 
was a concocted plan, look you, Galloway, to ' 

' To what ?' asked Mr. Galloway, for the master stopped short. 

' Never mind, just yet. I have my strong suspicions as to the 
guilty boy, and I am doing what I can to convert them into proofs. 
If it be as I suspect now, I shall expel him.' 

' But what could it have been done for ?' defeated Mr. Galloway 

* There's no point in the thing, that I can see, to ink and damage a 



THE CHANNINGS. 87 

surplice. If the boy to wliom it belonged had been inked, one 
might not have wondered so much.' 

' I'll "point him." ' cried the master, * if I catch hold of the right 
one.' 

* Could it have been one of the seniors ?' returned tho proctor, all 
his strong interest awakened. 

' It was one who ought to have known better,* evasively returned 
the master. 'I can't stop to talk now, Galloway. I have an 
errand to do, and must be back to duty at ten.' 

He marched off quickly, and Mr. Galloway came in-doors again. 

* Is that the way you get on with your business, Mr. Yorkc ?' 

Yorke clattered to his desk. * I'll get on with it, sir. I was 
listening to what the master said.' 

* It does not concern you, what he said. It was not one of your 
brothers who did it, I suppose .?' 

' No, that it was not,' haughtily spoke Eoland Yorke, drawing 
up his head with a proud, fierce gesture. 

Mr. Galloway withdrew to his private room, and for a few 
minutes silence supervened— nothing was to be heard but the 
scratching of pens. But Eoland Yorke, who had a gi-eat antipathy 
to steady work, and as great a love of his own tongue, soon began 
again. 

*I say, Channing, what an awful blow the dropping of that 
expected money must bo for you fellows ! I'm blest if I didn't 
dream of it last night ! If it spoilt my rest, what must it have 
done by yours ?' 

' Why ! how could you have heai'd of it last night ?' exclaimed 
Arthur, in sui'prise. * I don't think a soul came to our house to 
hear the news, except Mr. Yorke : and you were not likely to see 
him. He left us late. It is in everybody's mouth this morning.' 

' 1 had it from Hamish. He came to the party at the Knivetts'. 
Didn't Hamish get taken in !' laughed Eoland. 'He understood it 
was quite a ladies' affair, and loomed in, dressed up to the nines, 
and there he found only a bachelor gathering of Dick's. Hamish 
was disappointed, I think ; he fancied he was going to meet Ellen 
Huntley ; and glum enough he looked ' 

' He had but just heard the news of the loss,' interrupted Arthur. 

* Enough to make him look glum.' 

* Eubbish ! It wasn't that. He announced to us at once that 
the money was gone for good and all, and laughed over it, and said 
there were worse disasters at sea. Knivett said he never saw a 
fellow carry ill news off with so high a hand. Had he been pro- 



38 THE CHANNINGS. 

claiming the accession of a fortune, instead of tlic loss of one, 
he could not have been more carelessly cheerful. Channing, a^ hat 
on earth shall you do about your articles ?' 

A question that caused the greatest pain, especially when put b^ 
Eoland Yorke ; and Arthur's sensitive face flushed. 

You'll have to stop as a paid clerk for interminable years I 
Jenkins, you'll get him for your bosom companion, if you look 
sharp and make friends,' cried Eoland, laughing loudly. 

' No, sir, I don't think Mr. Arthur Channing is likely to become 
a paid clerk,' said Jenkins. 

* Not likely to become a paid clerk ! why he is it. If he is not 
one, I'd like to knowwho is. Channing, you know you are nothing 
else.' 

' I may be something else in time,' quietly replied Arthur, who 
knew how to control his rebellious spirit. 

* I say, what a rum go it is about that surplice !' exclaimed 
Roland Yorke, dashing into another topic. * It's not exactly the 
mischief itself that's rum, but the master seems to be making so 
much stir and mystery over it ! And then the hint at the seniors ! 
They must mean Huntley.' 

'I don't know who they mea7i,' said Arthur, 'but I am sure 
Huntley never did it. He is too open, too honourable ' 

' And do you pretend to say that Tom Channing and my brother 
Gcr are not honourable ?' fiercely interrupted Eoland Yorke. 

' There you go, Yorke ; jumping to conclusions ! It is not to be 
credited that any one of the seniors did it : still less, if they had 
done it, that they would not acknowledge it. They are all boys of 
truth and honour, so far as I believe. Huntley, I am sure, is.' 

* And of Tom also I conclude you feel sure ?' 
' Yes, I do.' 

* And I am sure of Ger Yorke. So, if the master is directing his 
suspicion to the seniors, he'll get floored. It's odd what can have 
turned it upon them.' 

' I don't think the master suspects the seniors,' said Arthur. 
' He called them to his aid.' 

' You heard what he but now said to Galloway. Jenkins, there 
is a knock at the door.' 

Jenkins went to open it. He came back, and said Mr. Y'orke 
was wanted. 

Eoland lazily proceeded to the outer passage ; and, when he saw 
who was standing there, put himself into a passion. ' What do you 
mean by presuming to come to me here ?' he haughtily asked. 



THE CHAKNINGS. 39 

* Well, sir, perhaps you'll tell me where I am to come, so as to 
get to see you ? civilly replied the applicant, one who bore the 
appearance of a tradesman. ' It seems it's of no use going to your 
house ; if I went ten times a day, I should get the same answer — 
that you are not at home.' 

* Just take yourself off,' said Koland. 

* Not till you pay me ; or tell me for certain when yon' will pay 
me, and keep your promise. I want my money, sir, and 1 must 
have it.' 

'We want a great many things that we can't get,' returned 
Roland, in a provokingly light tone. ' I'll pay you as soon as I can, 
man ; you needn't bo afraid.' 

'I'm not exactly afraid,' spoke the man. * I suppose if it came 
to a put-to. Lady Augusta would see that I got the money.' 

'You hold your tongue about Lady Augusta. What's Lady 
Augusta to you ? Any odds and ends that T may owe, have 
nothing to do with Lady Augusta. Look here, Simms, I'll pay you 
next week.' 

' You have said that so many times, Mr. Yorke.' 

' At any rate, I'll pay you part of it next week, if 1 can't the 
whole. I will, upon my honour. There ! now you know that 
I shall keep my word.' 

Apparently satisfied, the man departed, and Eoland lounged into 
the office again with the same idle movements that he quitted it. 

' It was that confounded Simms,' grumbled he. * Jenkins, why 
did you say I was in ?' 

' You did not tell me to say the contrary, sir. He came yester- 
day, but you were out then.' 

' What does he want ?' asked Arthur. 

' Wanted me to pay him a trifle I owe ; but it's not convenient to 
do it till next week. What a terrestrial Eden this lower world 
miglit be, if debt had never been invented!' 

' You need not get into debt,' said Arthur. ' It is not obligatory. 

* One might build a mud hut outside the town walls, and shut 
one's self up in it, and eat herbs for dinner, and sleep upon rushes, 
and turn hermit for good !' retorted Eoland. * You need not talk 
about debt, Channing.' 

' I don't owe much,' said Arthur, noting the significance oi 
Yorke' s concluding sentence. 
'If you don't, somebody else does.* 
♦Who?' 

* Ask Ilaraish. 



40 THK CHANNINGS. 

Arthur went on writing with a sinking heart. There was an 
inder-current of fear running within him — had been for some time 
— that Hamish did owe money on his own private score. But this 
allusion to it was not pleasant. 

'How much do you owe?' went on Eoland. 

* Oh, a twenty-pound note would pay my debts, and leave me 
something out of it,' said Arthur, in a joking tone. The fact was, 
that he did not owe a shilling to anybody. ' Jenkins, do you know 
what I am to set about next ?' he continued ; ' I have filled-in this 



Jenkins was beginning to look amidst some papers at his elbow, 
in answer to the appeal ; but at that moment Mr. Galloway 
entered, and despatched Arthur to get a cheque cashed at the 
bank. 



CHAPTER VI. 

LADY AUGUSTA YORKE AT HOME. 



* If you don t put away that trash, Caroline, and go up stairs and 
practise, I'll make you go ! Strewing the table in that manner ! 
Look what a pickle the room is in !' 

The words came from Lady Augusta Yorke, a tall, dark woman, 
with high cheek-bones ; and they were spoken at a pitch that might 
not have been deemed orthodox at court. Miss Caroline Yorke, a 
young demoiselle, with a * net ' that was more frequently off her 
head than on it, slip-shod shoes, and untidy stockings, had placed a 
quantity of mulberry leaves on the centre table, and a silkworm on 
each leaf. She leisurely proceeded with her work, bringing forth 
more silkworms from her paper trays, paying not the least attention 
to her mother. Lady Augusta advanced, and treated her to a 
slight tap on the ear, her favourite mode of correcting her children. 

' Now, mamma ! What's that for ?' 

*Do you hear me, you disobedient child? I will have this 
rubbish put away, I say. Goodness, Martha ! don't bring anybody 
in here !' broke off Lady Augusta, as a maid appeared, showing in a 
visitor. ' Oh, it is you, William ! I don't mind you. Come in.' 

It was the Eeverend William Yorke who entered. He was not 
altogether a favourite of Lady Augusta's. Though but distantly 
related to her late husband, he yet bore the name of Yorke ; and 
when he came to Helstonleigh (for he was not a native of tlie 



THE OHANNINGS. 41 

place), and became a candidate for a vacant minor canonry, Lady 
Augusta's pride had taken fire. The minor canons were looked 
upon by the exclusives of the cathedral as holding an inferior 
position amidst the clergy, and she resented it that one belonging 
to her should descend to set up his place among them. 

Mr. Yorke shook hands with Lady Augusta, and then turned t> 
regard the leaves and silkworms. ' Are you doing that for oma. 
ment, Caroline ?' 

' Ornament !' wrathfully cried Lady Augusta. * She is doing it 
for waste of time, and to provoke me.' 

' No I am not, mamma,' denied Miss Caroline. * My poor silk 
worms never get anything but lettuce leaves. Tod got these for 
me from the bishop's garden, and I am looking at the silkworms 
enjoying the change.' 

' Tod is in hot water,' remarked Mr. Yorke. * Ho was fighting 
with another boy as I came through the cloisters.' 

'Then he'll get his clothes torn, as he did the last time he 
fought!' exclaimed Lady Augusta, in consternation. *I think 
nobody ever had such a set of children as mine !' she peevishly 
continued. 'The boys boisterous as so many wild animals, and 
the girls enough to drive one crazy, with their idle, disobedient 
ways. Look at this room, AVilliam ! encumbered from one end to 
the other ! things thrown out of hand by Caroline and Fanny ! 
As to their lessons, they never open one. These three days I have 
never ceased telling Caroline to go and practise, and she has not 
obeyed me yet! I shall go out of my mind with one thing or 
another ; I know I shall ! Nice dunces tney'll gi-ow up.' 

' Go and practise now, Caroline,' said Mr. Yorke ; ' I will put 
your silkworms up for you.' 

Caroline pouted. * I hate practising.' 

He laid his hand gently upon her, gazing at her with his dark, 
pleasant eyes, reproachful then : ' But you do not hate obeying 
your mamma ? You must never let it come to that, Caroline.' 

She suffered him to lead her to the door, and she went docilely 
enough to the drawing-room, where the piano was, and sat down 
to it. Oh, for a little better training for those children ! Mr. 
Yorke began placing the silkworms in the trays, and Lady 
Augusta went on grumbling. 

' It is a dreadful fate — to be left a widow with a heap of unruly 
children who will not be controlled ! I must get a governess for 
the girls, and then I shall be free from them a few hours in the 
day. I thought I would try and save the money, and teach them 



12 THE OHANNTNGS. 

myself; but I might just as well attempt to teach so many little 
wild Indians ! I am not fit for teaching ; it is beyond me. Don't 
you think you could hear of a governess, William? You go 
about so.' 

* I have heard of one since I saw you yesterday,' he replied. ' A 
young lady, whom you know, is anxious to take a situation, and I 
think she might suit.* 

* Whom I know ?' cried Lady Augusta. * Who is it ?' 

* Miss Channing.' 

Lady Augusta looked astonished. * Is she going out as gover- 
ness? That comes of the losing of this lawsuit. She has lost no 
time in the decision.' 

' When an unpalatable step has to be taken, the sooner it is set 
about, the less will be the cost,' remarked Mr. Yorke. 

' Unpalatable ! you may well say that. This will be the climax, 
willitnot, WiUiam?' 

'Climax of what?' 

' Of all the unpleasantness that has attended your engagement 
with Miss Channing — ' 

* I beg your pardon. Lady Augusta,' was the interruption ol 
Mr. Yorke. 'No unpleasantness whatever has attended my en- 
gagement with Miss Channing.' 

' I think so, for I consider her beneath you ; and, therefore, that 
it is nothing but unpleasant from beginning to end. The Channings 
are very well, but they are not equal to the Yorkes. You might 
make this a pretext for the giving her up.' 

Mr. Yorke laughed. ' I think her all the more worthy of me. 
The only question that is apt to arise within me is, whether I am 
worthy of her. As we shall never agree upon this point, Lady 
Augusta, it may not be worthwhile to discuss it. About the other 
thing? I believe she would make an admirable governess for 
Caroline and Fanny, if you could obtain her.' 

Oh, I dare say she would do that. She is a lady, and has been 
well educated. Would she want a high salary ?' 

' Forty guineas, to begin with.' 

Lady Augusta interrupted him with a scream. ' I never could 
give the half of it ! I am sure I never could. What with house- 
keeping expenses, and milliners' bills, and visiting, and the boys 
dragging money out of me everlastingly, I have nothing, scarcely, 
to spare for education.' 

' Yet it is more essential than the rest. Your income, properly 
portioned out would afi'ord ' 



THE CHAlfNINGB. 43 

Another interrupting scream from Lady Augusta. Her son 
Theodore— Tod, familiarly— burst into the room, jacketless, his 
hair a mass of entanglement, blood upon his face, and his shirt' 
sleeves hanging in shreds. 

'You rebellious, wicked fright of a boy!' was the salutation of 
my lady, when she could find her breath. 

* Oh it's nothing, mamma. Don't bother,' replied Master Tod, 
waving her off. ' 1 have been going into Pierce, senior, and have 
polished him off with a jolly good licking. He won't get me into a 
row again, I'll bet.' 

' What row did he get you into ?' 

* He's a nasty, sneaking tattler, and he took and told something 
to Gaunt, and Gaunt put me up for punishment, and I got a caning 
from old Pye. I vow'd I'd pay Pierce out for it, and I have done 
it, though he is a sight bigger than me.' 

'What was it about?' inquired Mr. Yorke. 'The damaged 
surplice ?' 

' Damaged surplice be hanged !' politely retorted the young 
gentleman, who, in gaining the victory, appeared to have lost his 
temper. ' It was something concerning our lessons at the third 
desk, if you must know.' 

' You might be civil. Tod,' said Lady Augusta. ' Look at your 
shirt ! Who, do you suppose, is going to mend that ?' 

' It can go unmended,' responded Master Tod. ' I wish it was 
the fashion to go without clothes, I do ! They are always getting 
torn.' 

'I wish it was!' heartily responded my lady. 

That same evening, in returning to her house from a visit, 
Constance Channing encountered Mr. Yorke. He turned to walk 
Irith her to the door. 

' I intended to call this afternoon, Constance, but was prevented,' 
lie observed. ' I have spoken to Lady Augusta.' 

' Well ?' she answered with a smile and a blush. 

' She would be very glad of yoit, ; but the difficulty, at first, 
appeared to be about the salary. However, I pointed out a few 
home truths, and she admitted that if the girls were to get an edu- 
cation, she supposed she must pay for it. She will give you forty 
guineas; but you are to call upon her and settle details. To, 
moiTow, if convenient to you.' 

Constance clasped her hands. 'I am so pleased !' she exclaimed 
In a low tone. 

' So am I, said T*Ir. Yorke. ' I would rather you went to Lady 



44 THE CHANNING8. 

Augusta's than to a stranger's. And do, Constance, try and maka 
those poor girls more like what they ought to be.* 

'That I shall try, you may be sure, William. Are you not 
coming in ?' 

* No,' said Mr. Yorke, who had held out his hand on reaching the 
door. He was pretty constant in his evening visits to the Chan- 
nings, but he had made an engagement for this one with a brother- 
clergyman. 

Constance entered. She looked In the study for her brothers, 
uut only Arthur was there. He was leaning his elbow upon the 
table in a thoughtful mood. 

Where are they all ?' inquired Constance. 

* Tom and Charles are gone to the cricket match. I don't think 
Hamish has come in.' 

' Why did you not go to cricket also ?' 
' I don't know,' said Arthur. ' I did not feel much inclinatioi 
for cricket this evening.' 

* You are looking dull, Arthur, but I have some good news foi 
you,' Constance said, bending over him with a bright smile. ' It 
settled about my going out, and I am to have forty guineas. 
Guess where it is to ?' 

Arthur threw his arm round Constance, and they stood together] 
looking at the trailing honeysuckle plant just outside the window^ 

* Tell me, darling.' 

* It is to Lady Augusta's. William has been talking to her, ai 
she would like to have me. Does it not seem lucky to get it 8( 
soon?' 

' Lucky, Constance ?' 

' Ah, well ! you know what I think, Arthur, though I did saj 
*' lucky,'" returned Constance. *I know it is God who is helpinj 
us.' 

Very beautiful, very touching was the simple trustfulness reposec 
in God, by Constance and Arthur Channing, The good seed hac 
been sown on good ground, and was bringing forth its fruit. 

' I was deep in a reverie when you interrupted me, Constance J 
Arthur resumed. * Something seems to whisper to me that ihh 
loss, which we regard as a great misfortune, may turn out for goc 
in the end.' 

'In the end! It may have come for our good now,' said 
Constance. 'Perhaps I wanted my pride lowered,' she laughed; 

* and this has come to do it, and is despatching me out, a mecl 
governess.' 



THE CHANNINGB. 45 

' Perhaps we all wanted it,' cried Arthur, meaniugly. ' There 
are other bad habits it may stop, besides pride.' He was thinking 
of Hamish and his propensity to spend. * Forty guineas, you are 
to have ?' 

* Yes,' said Constance. 'Arthur, do you know a scheme that I 
have in my head ? I have been thinking of it all day.' 

* What is it ? Stay ! here is some one coming in. It is Hamish. 
Hamish entered with the account books under his arm, pro- 

paratory to going over them with his father. Constance drew him 
to her. 

' Hamish, I have a plan in my head, if we can only carry it oui 
I am going to tell it you.' 

* One that will set the river on fire ?' cried gay, laughing Hamish. 
' If we — you and I, and Arthur — can but manage to earn enough 

money, and if wo can observe strict economy at home, who knows 
but we may send papa to the German baths yet?' 

A cloud camse over Hamish's face, and his smile faded. * I don't 
see how that is to be done.' 

' But you have not heard of my good luck. I am going to Lady 
Augusta's, and am to have forty guineas salary. Now, if you and 
Arthur will help, it may be easy. Oh, Hamish, it would be worth 
any effort— any struggle. Think how it would be rewarded ! 
Papa restored to health ! to freedom from pain !' 

A look of positive pain seated itself on the brow of Hamish 
* Tes,' he sighed, * I wish it could be done.' 

'But you do not speak hopefully.' 

' Because, if I must tell you the truth, I do not feel hopefully. 1 
fear we could not do it : at least until things are brighter.' 

' If we do our very best, we might get great help, Hamish.* 

* What help?' he asked. 

* God's help,' she whispered. 

Hamish smiled. He had not yet learnt what Constance had. 
Besides, Hamish was just then in a little trouble on his own ac- 
count : he knew very well that his funds were wanted in another 
quarter. 

'Constance, dear, do not look at me so wistfully. I will try 
^vith all my might and main, to help my father ; but 1 fear I cannot 
do anything yet. I mean to draw in my expenses,' he went on 
laughing ; ' to live like any old screw of a miser, and never squander 
a halfpenny where a farthing will suffice.' 

He took his books and went in to Mr. Channing. Constanc* 
began training the honeysuckle, her mind busy, and a verse <d\ 



iG THE CHANNINGS. 

ffoly Writ running through it—* Conunit thy way unto the Lord, 
and put thy trust in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.' 

* Ay !' she murmured, glancing upwards at the blue evening sky ; 
' our whole, whole trust in patient reliance ; and whatsoever is best 
tor us will be ours.' 

Annabel stole up to Constance, and entwined her arms caressingly 
round her. Constance turned, and parted the child's hair upon her 
forehead with a gentle hand. 

' Am I to find a little rebel in you, Annabel ? Will you not try 
and make things smooth for me ?' 

' Oh, Constance, dear !' was the whispered answer, ' it was only 
my fun last night, when I said you should not take me for lessons 
in an evening. I will study all day by myself, and get my lessons 
quite ready for you, so as to give you no trouble in the evening. 
Would you like to hear me my music now?' 

Constance bent to kiss her. * No, dear child ; there is no ne- 
cessity for my taking you in an evening, until my days shall 
occupied at Lady Augusta Yorke's.' 



CIIAPTEE VII. 

MR. KETCH. 

Mrs. Channing sat with her childi-en. Breakfast was over, anc 
she had the Bible open before her. Never, since their earliee 
years of understanding, had she failed to assemble them togethei 
for the few minutes' reading, morning and evening. Not for to< 
long at once ; she kncAV the value of not tiring young childrei 
when she was leading them to feel an interest in sacred thinj 
She would take Hamish, a little fellow of three years old, upon h( 
knee, read to him a short Bible story, suitable to his age, and thei 
talk to him. Talk to him in a soft, loving, gentle tone, of God, o^ 
Jesus, of heaven ; of his duties in this world ; of what he must d< 
to attain to everlasting peace in the next. Day by day, stej 
by step, untiringly, unceasingly, had she thus laboured, to awakej 
good in the child's heart, to train it to holiness, to fill it with lov« 
of God. As the other children came on in ye^rs, she, in lik^ 
manner, took them. From simple Bible stories to more advance^ 
Bible stories, and thence to the Bible itself; with other bool 
at times and seasons : a little reading, a little conversation, Gosj 
truths impressed upon them from her earnest lips. Be you vei 
sui-e that where this great duty of all duties is left unfulfilled by a' 



THE CHANNINGS. 47 

mother, a chUd is not brought up as it ought to be. Win your chilli 
towards heaven in his early years, and he will not forget it wher 
ho is old. 

It will be as a very shield, compassing him about through life. 
He may wander astray — there is no telling — in the heyday of his 
hot-blooded youth, for the world's temptations are as a running 
fire, scorching all that venture into its heat ; but the good founda- 
tion has been laid, and the earnest, incessant prayers have gone up, 
and he will find his way home again. 

Mrs. Channing closed the Bible, and spoke, as usual. It was all 
that teaching should be. Good lessons as to this world ; loving 
pictures of that to come. She had contrived to impress them, not 
with the too popular notion that heaven was a far-ofif place up in 
the skies some vague millions of miles away, and to which we might 
be millions of years off; but that it was very near to them ; that 
God was ever present with them ; and that death, when he came, 
should be looked upon as a friend, not an enemy. Hamish was 
three-and-twenty years old now, and he loved those minutes of 
instruction as he had done when a child. They had borne their 
fniit for him, and for all : though not, perhaps, in an equal degree. 

The reading over, and the conversation over, she gave the book 
to Constance to put away, and the boys rose, and prepared to enter 
upon their several occupations. It was not the beginning of the 
day for Tom and Charles, for they had been already to early school. 

' Is papa so very much worse to-day, mamma?' asked Tom. 

' I did not say ho was worse, Tom,* replied Mrs. Channing. * I 
said he had passed a restless night, and felt tired and weak.' 

' Thinking over that confounded lawsuit,' cried hot, thoughtlesf 
Tom. 

* Thomas !' reproved Mrs. Channing. 

' I beg your pardon, mamma. Unorthodox words are the fashion 
in the school, and one must catch them. I forget myself when I 
repeat them before you.' 

'To repeat them before me is no worse than repeating them 
behind me, Tom.' 

Tom laughed. *Very true, mamma. It was not a logical 
excuse. But I am sure the news, brought to us by the mail on 
Wednesday night, is enough to put a saint out of temper. Had 
there been anything unjust in it, had the money not been rightly 
ours, it would have been difierent ; but to be deprived of what is 
legally our own— — ' 

* Not legally— as it turns out,' etruck in Hamish. 



48 



THE CHANNING8. 



'Justly, then,' said Tom. ' It's too Lad— especially as we don't 
know whatever we shall do without it.' 

' Tom, you are not to look at the dark side of things,' cried 
Constance, in a pretty, wilful, commanding manner. * We shall do 
very well without it : it remains to be proved whether we shall not 
do better than with it.' 

* Children, I wish to say a word to you upon this subject,* said 
Mrs. Channing. 'When the news arrived, I was, you know, 
almost overwhelmed with it ; not seeing, as Tom says, whatever we 
were to do without the money. In the full shock of the disap- 
pointment, it wore for me its worst aspect ; a far more sombre one 
than the case really merited. But, now that I have had time to 
see it in its true light, my disappointment has subsided. I con- 
sider that we took a completely wrong view of it. Had the decision 
deprived us of the income we enjoy, then indeed it would have 
been grievous ; but in reality it deprives us of nothing. Not one 
single privilege that we possessed before, does it take from us ; 
not a single expense will it cost us. We looked to this money to 
do many things with ; but its not coming renders us no worse off 
than we were. The expecting it has caused us to get behindhand 
with our bills, which we must gradually pay off in the best way w« 
can ; it takes from us the power to article Arthur, and it straitei 
us in many ways, for, as you grow up, you grow more expensive^ 
This is the extent of the ill, except ' 

' Oh, mamma, you forget ! The worst ill of all is, that papal 
cannot now go to Germany.' 

'I was about to say that, Arthur. But other means for hi 
going thither may be found. Understand me, my dears : 1 do nof 
see any means, or chance of means, at present ; you must nc 
fancy that ; but it is possible that they may arise with the time o^ 
need. One service, at any rate, the decision has rendered me. 

' Service ?' echoed Tom. 

* Yes,' smiled Mrs. Channing. ' It has proved to me that mj 
children are loving and dutiful. Instead of repining, as som^ 
might, they are already seeking how they may make up, thei 
selves, for the money that has not come. And Constance begins itJ 

' Don't fear us, mother,' cried Hamish, with his sunny smile. ' Wj 
will be of more use to you yet than the money would have been.' 

They dispersed — Hamish to his office, Arthur to Mr. Galloway'j 
Tom and Charles to the cloisters, that famous play-place of tl 
college school. Stolen pleasures, it is said, are sweetest; anc 
Just because there had been a stir lately amongst the cathedi 



THE CHANNINGS. 40 

cleri^y, touching tlio desirability of forbidding the cloisters to the 
boys for play, so much the more eager were they to frequent them. 
As Arthur was going down Close Street, he encountered Mr. 
Williams, the cathedral organist, striding along with a roll of 
music in his hand. He was Arthur's music master. When Arthiur 
Channing was in the choir, a college school-boy, he had displayed 
considerable taste for music ; and it was decided that he should 
learn the organ. He had continued to take lessons after he left 
the choir, and did so still. 

' I was thinking of coming round to speak to you tc-day, Mr 
Williams.* 
' What about T asked the organist. ' Anything pressing V 
* Well, you have heard, of course, that that suit is given against 
us, so I don't mean to continue the organ. They have said nothing 
to me at home ; but it is of no use spending money that might be 
saved. But I see you are in too great a hurry, to stay to talk 
now.' 

' Hurry ! I am hurried off my legs,* cried the organist. ' If a 
dozen or two of my pupils would give up learning, as you talk 
of doing, I should only bo obliged to them. I have more work 
than T can attend to. And now Jupp must go and lay himself up, 
and I have the services to attend myself, morning and afternoon!' 
Mr. Jupp was assistant organist. An apprentice to Mr. Williams, 
but just out of his time. 
' Whf*t ails Jupp ?' asked Arthur. 

' A little bit of fever, and a great deal of laziness,' responded 
Mr. AVilliams. ' He is the laziest fellow alive. Since his uncle 
died, and that money came to him, he doesn't care a straw how 
things go. Ho was copyist to the cathedral, and he gave that up 
last week. I have asked Sandon, the lay olerk, if he will take the 
copying, but he declines. He is another lazy one. 

The organist hurried off. Arthur strove to detain him for 
another word or two, but it was of no use. So he continued his 
way to Mr. Galloway's. 

Busy enough were his thoughts there. His fingers were occupied 
with, writing, but his mind -went roaming without leave. This 
post of copyist of music to the cathedral, which appeared to be 
going begging ; why should not he undertake it, if Mr. Williams 
would give it to him ? He was competent to do so, and though he 
very much disliked music-copying, that was nothing : he was not 
going to set up his dislikes, and humour them. He had but a 
vague idea what might be the remuneration ; ten, or twelve, 0/ 

B 



60 THE OHANNINGS. 

fifteen pounds a year, he fancied it might brin^ I'.ini in. Better 
that, than nothi'^g; it would be a beginning to follow in the wako 
that Constance had commenced ; and he could do it evenings, or 
other odd times. * I won't lose an hour in asking for it,' thought 
Arthur 

At one o'clock, when he was released from the office, he ran 
through the Boundaries to the cloisters, intending to j)as5s through 
them on his way to the house of the organist, that being rather a 
nearer road to it, than if he had gone round the town. The sound 
of the organ, however, struck upon his ear, causing him to assume 
that it was the organist who was playing. Arthur tried the 
cathedral door, found it open, and went in. 

Mr. Williams it was. He had been trying some new music, and 
he rose from the organ as Arthur got to the top of the stairs, no 
very pleasant expression on his countenance. 

' What is the matter?' asked Arthur, perceiving that something 
liad put him out. 

' I hate ingratitude,' responded Mr. Williams. ' Jenkins,' called 
out he to the old bedesman, who" had been blowing for him, 'you 
may go to your dinner ; I sha'n't want you any more now.' 

(3ld Jenkins hobbled down from the organ-loft, and Mr. Williams 
continued to Arthur— 

' Would you believe that Jupp has withdrawn himself entirely ?' 

' From the college ?' exclaimed Arthur. 

* From the college, and from me. His father comes to me, an 
hour ago, and says he is sure Jupp's in a bad state of health, and 
he intends to send him to his relatives in the Scotch mountains for 
some months, to try and get him hardy. Not a word of apology, 
for leaving me at a pinch.' 

' It will be very inconvenient for you,' said Arthur. ' I suppose 
that new apprentice of yours is of no use yet for the services ?' 

' Use !' irascibly retorted Mr. Williams, ' he could not play a 
psalm if it were to save his life. I depended upon Jupp. It was 
an understood thing that he should stop with me as assistant ; 
had it not been, I should have taken good care to bring somebody 
on to replace him. As to attending the services on week-days 
myself, it is next door to an impossibility. If I do, my teaching 
business will be ruined.' , 

* I wish I was at liberty,' said Arthur ; ' I would take them for you. ' 
' Look here, Channing,' said the organist. * Since I had this 

information of old Jupp's, my brain has been worrying itself pretty 
well, as you may imagine. Now, there's nobody I would rathoi 



THE CriANNINGS. 51 

hnstto take the week-day services than you, for you are fully 
capable, and 1 have got you into my own style of playing : I never 
could get Jupp entirely into it ; he is too fond of noise and floui-ishes. 
It has struck me that perhaps Mr. Galloway might spare you : his 
office is not overdone with work, and I would make it worth your 
whi'Ie.' 

Arthur, somewhat bewildered at the proposal, sat down on one 
of the stools, and stared, not answering. 

' You will not be offended at my saying this. I speak in conse- 
quence of your telling me, this morning, you could not afford to go 
on with your lessons,' continued the organist. *But for that, I 
should not have thought of proposing such a thing to you. What 
capital practice it would be for you, too !' 

' The best proof to convince you I am not offended, is to tell 
you what brings me hero now,' said Arthur in a cordial tone. * 1 
understood you, this morning, that you were at a loss for some one 
to undertake the copying of the cathedral music : I came to ask 
you to give it to me.' 

' You may have it, and welcome,' said Mr. Williams. * That's 
nothing : I want to Imow about the services.' 

' It would take me an hour, morning and afternoon, from the 
office,' debated Arthur. ' I wonder whether Mr. Galloway would 
let me go an hour earlier and stay an hour later to make up for it ?' 

' You can put the question to him. I dare say he will : especially 
as he is on terms of friendship with your father. I would give you 
—let me see,' deliberated the organist, falling into a musing atti- 
tude — ' twelve pounds a quarter. Say fifty pounds a year ; if you 
stay Avith me so long. And you should have nothing to do with 
the choristers : I'd practise them myself.' 

Arthur's face flushed. It was a great temptation : and the 
(iuestion flashed over his mind whether it would not be well to 
leave Mr. Galloway's, as his prospects there appeared to be blighted, 
and embrace this, if that gentleman declined to allow him the 
requisite hours of absence. Fifty pounds a year ! ' And,' he spoko 
unconsciously aloud, ' there would be the copying besides.' 

*0h, that's not much,' cried the organist. ' That's paid by the 
sheet.' 

' I should like it so excessively !' exclaimed Arthur. 

' Well, just turn it over in your mind. But you must let me know 
at once, Ghanning ; by to-morrow at the latest. If you cann. • 
take it I must find somebody else' 

Arthur Ghanning went out of the cathedral, hardly knowing 

E 2 



62 THE CHANNINGS. 

whether he stood on his head or his heels. ' Constance said that 
God would help us !' was his grateful thought. 

Suoh a whirlwind of noise! Arthur, when he reached the 
cloisters, found himself in the midst of the college boys, who were 
just let out of school. Leaping, shouting, pushing, scuffling, 
playing, contending ! Arthur had not so very long ago been a 
college boy himself, and enjoyed the fun. 

' How are you, old fellows— jolly ?' 

They gathered around him : Arthur was a favourite with them ; 
had been always, when he was in the school. The elder boys 
loftily commanded off the juniors, who had to retire to a respectful 
distance. 

' I say, Channing, there's the stunningest go !' began By water, 
dancing a triumphant hornpipe. ' You know Jupp ? Well, he ha8 
been and sent in word to Williams that he is about to die, or 
something of that, and it's necessary ho should go off on the spree, 
to get himself well again. Old Jupp came this moniing, just as 
college was over, and said it : and Williams, he's in the j oiliest 
rage ; going to be left without anybody to take the organ. It will 
just pay him out, for being such a tyrant to us choristers.' 

' Perhaps I am going to take it,' returned Arthur. 

' You .? — what a cram !' 

' It is not, indeed,' said Arthur. * I shall take it if I can get 
leave from Mr. Galloway. Williams has just asked me.' 

* Is that true, Arthur ?' burst forth Tom Channing, elbowing his 
way to the front. 

' Now, Tom, should I say it were it not true ? I only hope Mr. 
Galloway will throw no difficulty in my way.' 

' And do you mean to say that you are going to be cock over us 
choristers ?' asked Bywater. 

' No, thank you,' laughed Arthur. ' Mr. Williams will best fill 
that honour. Bywater, has the mystery of the inked surplice 
come to light ?' 

' No, and be shot to it ! The master's in a regular way over it, 
though, and ' 

'And what do you think?' eagerly interrupted Tod Yorke, 
whose face was ornamented with several shades of fine colour, 
blfue, green, and yellow, the result of the previous day's pugilistic 
encounter; 'my brother Eoland heard the master say he suspected 
one of the seniors.' 

Arthm- Channing looked inquiringly at Gaunt. The latter tossed 
Uiii head haughtily. * Roland Yorke must b^ve made some mii>- 



THE CHANNINGS. 53 

fako,' he observed to Arthur. * It is perfectly out of the question 
that the master can suspect a senior. I can't imagine where the 
school could have picked up the notion.' 

Gaunt was standing with Arthur, as he spoke, and the three 
seniors, Channing, Huntley, and Yorke, happened to be in a lino 
facing them. Arthur regarded them one by one. 

' You don't look very like committing such a thing as that, any 
one of you,' he laughed. ' It is curious, where the notion can 
have come from.' 

'Such absurdity!' ejaculated Gerald Yorke. 'As if it were 
likely Pyc would suspect one of us seniors ! It's not believable.' 

' Not at all believable you would do it,' said Arthur. ' Had it 
been the result of accident, of course you would have hastened to 
declare it, any one of you three.' 

As Arthur spoke, he involuntarily turned hie eyes on the sea of 
faces behind the three seniors, as if searching for signs in some 
countenance among them, by which he might recognize the culprit. 

' My goodness !' uttered the senior boy, to Arthur. * Had any 
one of those three done such a thing — accident or no accident — 
and not declared it, he'd get his name struck off the rolls. A 
junior may get pardoned for things that a senior cannot.' 

' Besides, there'd be the losing his chance of the seniorship, and 
of the exhibition,' cried one from the throng of boys in the rear. 

'How are you progressing for the seniorship?' asked Arthur, of 
the three. ' Which of you stands the best chance ?' 

' I think Channing does,' freely spoke up Harry Huntley. 

'Why?' 

' Because our progiess is so equal that I don't think one will get 
ahead of another, so that the choice cannot be made that way ; 
nnd Channing's name stands first on the rolls.' 

'Who is to know if they'll give us fair play and no humbug?' 
said Tom Channing. 

' If they do, it will be what they have never given yet !' exclaimed 
Stephen Bywater. ' Kissing goes by favour.' 

'Ah, but I heard that the dean ' 

At this moment a boy dashed into the throng, scattering it right 
and left. ' Where are your eyes .?' he whispered. 

Close upon them was the dean. Arm-in-arm with him, in his 
hat and apron, walked the Bishop of Helstonleigh. The boys 
stood aside and took off their trenchers. The dean merely raised 
his hand in response to the salutation— he appeared to be deep in 
tiiought ; but the bishop nodded freely among them. 



5i THE CHANNINGS. 

* I heard that the dean found fault, the last time the oxhibitlou 
fell, and said favour should never be shown again, so long as he 
was dean of Helstonleigh,' said Harry Huntley, when the clergy 
were beyond hearing, continuing the sentence he had been inter- 
rupted in. 'I say that, with fair play, it will be Channing's; 
failing Channing, it will be mine ; failing me, it will be Yorke's.' 

' Now, then ! retorted Gerald Yorke. ' Why should you get the 
chance before me, pray ?' 

Huntley laughed. * Only that my name heads yours on the 
rolls.' 

Once in three years there fell an exhibition for Helstonleigh 
College school, to send a boy to Oxford. It would be due the 
following Easter. Gaunt declined competition for it ; he would 
leave the school at Michaelmas ; and it was a pretty generally 
understood thing that whichever of the three mentioned boys 
should be appointed senior in his place, would be presented with 
the exhibition. Channing and Yorke most ardently desired to 
gain it ; both of them from the same motive — want of funds at 
home to take them to the university. If Tom Channing did not 
gain it, he was making up his mind to pocket pride, and go as a 
servitor. Yorke w^ould not have done such a thing for the world ; 
all the proud Yorke blood would be up in arms, at one of their 
name appearing as a servitor at the Oxford Univeisity. No. 1/ 
Gerald Yorke should lose the exhibition, Lady Augusta must 
manage to screw out funds to send him. He and Tom Channing 
were alike designed for the Chuich. Harry Huntley had no such 
need : the sen of a gentleman of good property, the exhibition was 
of little moment to him, in a pecuniary point of view ; indeed, a 
doubt had been whispered amongst the boys, whether Mr. Huntley 
would allow Harry to take advantage of it, if he did gain it, 
he being a liberal-minded and just man. Harry, of course, desired 
to be the successful one, for fame's sake, just as ardently as did 
Channing and Yorke. 

*rm bless'd if here isnt that renowned functionary, Jack 
Ketch !' 

The exclamation came from young Galloway. Limping in at 
one of the cloister doors, came the cloister porter, a surly man of 
sixty, whose temper was not improved by periodical attacks of 
lumbago. He and the college boys were open enemies. The 
porter would have rejoiced in denying them the cloisters alto- 
gether ; and nothing had gladdened his grim old heart like the 
discussion which was said to have taken place between the dean 



THE CHANNINGS. 56 

And cLapter, regarding the i^ropriety of shutting out the boys and 
their noise from the cloisters, as a play place. He bore an unfor- 
tunate name— Ketch— and the boys, you may be very sure, did not 
iiiil to take advantage of it, joining to it sundry embellishments, 
more pointed than polite. 

He came up, a ragged gig-whip in his hand, which he was fond 
of smacking round the throng of boys. He had never gone the 
length of touching one of them, and perhaps it was just as well for 
him that he had not. 

' Now, you boys ! be off, with your hullabaloo ! Is this a decent 
noise to make around gentlefolks' doors ? You don't know, may 
be, as Dr. Burrows is in town.' 

Dr. Burrows happened to live in a house which had a door 
opening to the cloisters. The boys retorted. The worst they 
gave Mr. Ketch was ' chaff ;' but his temper could bear anything 
better than that, especially if it was administered by the senior 
boy. 

* Dear me, who's this ?* began Gaunt, in a tone of ultra politeness. 

* Boys, do you see this gentleman who condescends to accost us ? 
I really believe it is Sir John Ketch. "What's that in his hand ? — 
a piece of rope ? Surely, Mr. Ketch, you have not been turning 
off that unfortunate prisoner who was condemned yesterday? 
Rather hasty work, sir ; was it not V 

Mr. Ketch foamed. * I tell you what it is, sir. You be the 
senior boy, and, instead of restraining these wicked yoimg reptiles, 
you edges 'em on ! Take care, young gent, as I don't complain of 
you to the dean. Seniors have got hoisted afore now.' 

* Have they, really ? Well, you ought to know, Mr. Calcraft. 
There's the dean, just gone out of the cloisters ; if you make haste, 
Calcraft, you'll catch him up. Put your best foot foremost, and 
ask him if he won't report Mr. Gaunt for punishment.' 

The porter could have danced with rage ; and his whip was 
smacking ominously. He did not daro advance it too near the 
circle when the senior boy was present, or indeed, when any of the 
elder boys were. 

'How's your lumbago, Mr. Ketch ?' demanded Stephen Bjn^vater 

* I'd advise you to get rid of that, before the next time you go on 
duty; it might be in your way, you know. Never was such a 
thing heard of, as for the chief toppler-off of the three kingdoms 
to be disabled in his limbs ! What would you do ? I'm afraid you'd 
be oUiged to resign your post, and sink into private life.' 

* Now I just vow to goodness, as I'll do all I can to get those 



56 THE CHANNINGS. 

cloisters took from you boys,' slirieked old Ketch, clasping lii5 
hands together. ' There's insults as flesh and blood can't stand ; 
and, as sure as I be living, 111 pay you out for it.' 

He turned tail and hobbled off, as he spoke, and the boys raised 
* three groans for Jack Ketch,' and then rushed away by the other 
entrance to their own dinners. The fact was, the porter had 
brought the ill-will upon himself, through his cross-grained temper. 
He had no right whatever to interfere between the boys and the 
cloisters ; it was not his place to do so. The king's scholars knew 
this ; and, being spirited king's scholars, as they "werp, woaild not 
stand it. 

'Tom,' said Arthur Channing, 'don't say anything at home 
about the organ. Wait and see if I get it, first. Charley did not 
hear : he was ordered off with the juniors. ' 



CHAPTER YIII. 

THE ASSISTANT-ORGANIST. 



Things often seem to go by the rule of contraiy. Arthur returned 
to the office at two o'clock, brimful of the favour he was going to 
solicit of Mr. Galloway ; but he encountered present disappoint- 
ment. For the first time for many weeks, Mr. Galloway did not 
make his appearance in the office at all ; he was out the whole of 
the afternoon. Eoland Yorke, to whom Arthur imparted the plan, 
ridiculed it. 

' Catch me taking such a task upon myself! If I could play the 
organ like a Mendelssohn— fit to send the folks into ecstacies — I'd 
never saddle myself with the worry of doing it morning and after- 
noon. You'll soon be sick of the bargain, Channing.' 

' I should never be sick of it if I did it for nothing : I am too 
fond of music for that. And it will be a very easy way of earning 
money.' 

' Not so easy as making your mother stump up,' was the reply ; 
and if your refinement turns from the expression, my good reader, 
I am sorry you should have to read it ; but it is what Mr. Eoland 
Yorke said. ' I had a regular scene with Lady Augusta this 
morning. It's the most unreasonable thing in the world, you 
know, Channing, for her to think I can live without money, and sj 
T told her— said I must and would have it, in fact. 

'Did you get it?' 



TUfi CHANNING8. 57 

* Of course I did. 1 wanted to pay Simms, and one or two more 
trifles that were pressing ; I was not going to have the fellow here 
after me again. I wish such a thing as money had never been 
^'nvented, I do.' 

' You may as well wish we could live without eating,' 

' So I do, sometimes — when I go home, expecting a good dinner, 
and there's only some horrid cold stuff upon the table. There 
never was a worse housekeeper than Lady Augusta. Its my 
belief, our servants must live like fighting cocks ; for I am sure 
the bills are heavy enough, and we don't get their benefit.' 

' What made you so late this afternoon?' asked Arthur. 

' I went round to pay Simms, for one thing ; and then I called in 
upon Hamiish, and stayed talking with him. Wasn't he in a sea of 
envy when I told him I had been scoring off that Simms ! He 
wislied he could do the same.' 

' Hamish does not owe anything to Simms !' cried Arthur, with 
hasty retort. 

'Doesn't he?' laughed Eoland Yorke. 'That's all you know 
about it. Ask him for yourself.' 

' If you please, sir,' interposed Mr. Jenkins, at this juncture, * I 
^lall soon be waiting for that paper. Mr. Galloway directed me to 
send it off by post.' 

'Bother the paper!' returned Eoland; but, nevertheless, ho 
apphed himself to complete it. He was in the habit of discoursing 
upon private topics before Jenkins without any reserve, regarding 
him as a perfect nonenity. 

When Arthur went home in the evening, he found Mr. Galloway 
sitting with his father. ' Well,' cried the proctor, as Arthur 
entered, ' and ;\vho has been at the office this afternoon ?' 

' Nobody particular, sir. Oh, yes, there has, though — I forgot. 
The dean looked in, and wanted to see you.' 

•What did he want?' 

' He did not say, sir. He told Jenkins it would do another time.* 

Arthur left his father and Mr. Galloway together. He did not 
Droach the subject that was uppermost in his heart. Gifted with 
rare delicacy of feeling, he would not speak to Mr. Galloway until 
he could see him alone. To prefer the request in his father's 
presence might have caiised Mr. Galloway more trouble in re- 
fusing it. 

' I can't think what has happened to Arthur this evening !' ex 
claimed one of them. * His spirits are up to fever heat. Tell us 
what it is, Arthur ?' 



58 THE CHANNINGS. 

Arthur laughed. ' I hope they will not get lowered to freeziug 
point within the next hour ; that's all.' 

When he heard Mr. Galloway leaving, he hastened after him, 
and overtook him in the Boundaries. 

* I wanted to say a few words to you, sir, if you please ?' 

* Say on,' said Mr. Galloway, ' Why did you not say them in 
doors ?' 

' I scarcely know how I shall say them now, sir ; for it is a very 
great favour that I have to ask you, and you may be angiy, 
perhaps, at my thinking you might grant it.' 

* You want holiday, I suppose ?' 

* Oh no, sir ; nothing of that. I want ' 

'Well?' cried Mr. Galloway, surprised at his hesitation; but 
now that the moment of preferring the request had come, Arthur 
shrank from doing it. 

* Could you allow me, sir ^would it make very much difference 

to allow me — to come to the office an hour earlier, and remain 

in it an hour later ?' stammered Arthur. 

' What for ?' exclaimed Mr. Galloway, with marked surprise. 

* I have had an offer made me, sir, to take the cathedral organ at 
week-day service. I should very much like to accept it, if it could 
be managed.* 

* Why, Where's Jupp ?' uttered Mr. Galloway. 

* Jupp has resigned. He is ill, and is going out for his health. 
I'll tell you how it all happened, su',' went on Arthur, losing diffi- 
«ience now that he was fairly launched upon his subject. *0f 
<;ourse, this failure of the suit makes a great difference to our 
prospects at home ; it renders it incumbent upon us to do what we 
can to help ' 

' Why does it ?' interrupted Mr. Galloway. ' It may make a dif- 
ference to your future ease, but it makes none to your present means. 

' There is money wanted in many ways, sir ; the favourable termi- 
nation of the suit was counted upon so certainly. For one thing, it 
is necessary that my father should try the German baths.' 

* Of course, he must try them,' cried Mr. Galloway. 

' But it will cost money, sir,' deprecated Arthur. ' Altogether, 
we have determined to do what we can, Constance set us the 
example, by engaging to attend as daily governess at Lady 
Augusta's. She goes on Monday.' 

' Very commendable of her,' observed the proctor, who loved a 
gossip like any old woman. ' T hope she'll not let those two unruly 
girls worry her to death.' 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 59 

* And I was casting about in my mind, this morning, what I could 
do to help, when I met the organist,' proceeded Arthur. 'He 
chanced to say that he could find nobody to take the music 
copying. Well, sir, I thought it over, and at one o'clock I went to 
ask him to give it to me. I found him at the organ, in a state of 
vexation. Jupp had resigned his post, and Mr. Williams had 
nobody to replace him with. The long and the short of it is, sir, 
that he offered it to me.' 

' And did you accept it ?' crossly responded Mr. Galloway. 

' Of coarse I could not do that, sir, until I had spoken to you. 
If it were possible that I could make up the two hours to you, i 
should be very glad to take it.' 

' And do it for nothing, I suppose ?* 

' Oh, no. He would give me fifty pounds a year. And thert 
would be the copying besides.' 

' That's a great deal 1' cried Mr. Galloway. 

'It appears to me to be good pay,' replied Arthur. *But ho 
would lose a vast deal more than that, if he had to attend the 
cathedral himself. He said it would ruin his teaching connection.' 

'Ah ! self-interest — two for himself and one for you !' ejaculated 
the proctor. ' What does Mr. Chauning say ?' 

' I have said nothing at home. It was of no use telling them, 
until I had spoken to you. Now that my prospects are gone ' 

' What prospects?' interrupted Mr. Galloway. 
, ' My articles to you, sir. Of course there's no chance of them 
now.' 

Mr. Galloway grunted. ' The ruin that Chancery suits work ! 
Mark you, Arthur Channing, this is such a thing that was never 
asked a proctor before — leave of absence for two hours in the best 
part of the day ! If I grant it, it will be out of the great friend- 
ship I bear your father.' 

* Oh, sir ! I shall never forget the obligation.' 

* Take care you don't. You must come and work for two houi'S 
before breakfast in a morning.' 

' W il l i ngly — readily !' exclaimed Arthur Channing, his face in a 
glow. ' Then may I really tell Mr. Williams that I can accept it ?' 

* If I don't say yes, I suppose you'd magnify me into a sullen old 
bear, as bad as Ketch, the porter. You may accept it. Stop!' 
thundered Mr. Galloway, coming to a dead standstill. 

Arthur was startled. ' What now, sir ?' 

*Ai'e you to be the instructor of those random animals, the 
ohoristers .'' 



oO THE CHANNINGS. 

* Oh uo : I shall have nothing to do with that,' 

* Very good. Tf you had taken to them, T should have recom- 
mended you to guard against such a specimen of singing as was 
displayed the other day before the judges.' 

Arthur laughed ; spoke a word of heartfelt thanks ; and took 
his way off-hand to the residence of the organist as light as any 
bird. 

* I have got leave, Mr. Williams ; I may take the place !' he 
exclaimed with scant ceremony, when he found himself in that 
gentleman's presence, who was at tea with his wife. ' Mr. Galloway 
has authorized me to accept it. How do you do, Mrs. Williams ?' 

* That's a great weight off my mind, then !' cried the organist. 
* I set that dolt of an apprentice of mine to play the folks out of 
college, this afternoon, when service was over, and — of all per- 
formances ! Six mistakes he made in three bars, and broke down 
at last. I could have boxed his ears. The dean was standing 
below when I got down. " Who was that playing, Mr. Williams ?" 
he demanded. So, I told him about Jupp's ill-behaviour in leaving 
me, and that I had offered the place to you. "But is Channing 
fully competent.?" cried he — for you know what a fine ear for 
music the dean has — "besides," he added, "is he not at Gallo- 
way's?" I said we hoped Mr. Galloway would spare him, and 
that I would answer for his competency. So, mind, Channing, 
you must put on the steam, and not disgrace my guarantee. I 
don't mean the steam of noise, or that you should go through the 
service with all the stops out.' 

Arthur laughed in answer to the laugh of Mr. Williams; and, 
declining the inclination to remain and partake of tea, he went out. 
He was anxious to impart the news at home. A few steps on his 
road, he overtook Hamish. 

' Where do you spring from ?' exclaimed Hamish, passing his 
arm within Arthur's. 

' From concluding an agreement that vvill bring me in fifty 
pounds a year,' said Arthur. 

' Gammon, Master Arthur !' 

* It is not gammon, Hamish. It is sober truth.' 

Hamish turned and looked at htm, aroused by something in the 
tone. ' And what are you to do for it ?' 

* Just pass a couple of hours a day, delighting my own ears and 
heart. Do you remember what Constance said, last night? 
Hamish, it is wonderful, that this help should so soon have come to 
me!' 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 61 

Stay ! Where are you going?' interrupted Hamish, aa Arthur 
was turning into a side street. 

' This is the nearest way home' 

' I had rather not go that way.' 

'Why?' exclaimed Arthur, in surprise. 'Hamish, how you 
look ! What is the matter ?' 

'Must I tell you? It is for your ear alone, mind. There's 
a certain tradesman's house down there that I'd rather not pass ; 
he has a habit of coming out and dunning me. Do you remember 
Mr. Dick Swiveller ?' 

Hamish laughed, gaily. He would have laughed on his road to 
prison : it was his nature. But Arthur seemed to take a downward 
leap from his high ropes. ' Is it Simms ?' he breathed, 

' No, it is not Simms. Who has been telling you anything about 
Simms, Arthur? It is not so very much that I owe Simms. 
What is this good luck of yours?' 

Arthur did not immediately reply. A dark shadow had fallen 
upon his spirit, like a forerunner of evil. 



CHAPTER iX. 

hamish's candles. 

Old Judith sat in her kitchen. Her hands were clasped upon her 
knees, and her head was bent in thought. Rare indeed was it to 
catch .Indith indulging in a moment's idleness. She appeared to 
be holding soliloquy with herself. 

' It's the most incomprehensible thing in the world ! I have 
heard of ghosts— and, talking about ghosts, that child was in a 
tremor, last night, again — I'm sure he was. Brave little heart ! 
he goes up to bed in the dark on purpose to break himself of the 
fear. I went in for them shirts missis told me of, and he started 
like anything, and his face turned white. He hadn't heard me till 
I was in the room ; I'd got no candle, and 'twas enough to startle 
him. " Oh, is it you, Judith?" said he, quietly, making believe to 
be as indifferent as may be. I struck a light, for I couldn't find 
the shirts, and then I saw his white face. He can't overget the 
fear : 'twas implanted in him in his babyhood : and I only wish I 
could get that wicked girl punished as I'd punish her, for it was 
her work. But about the 'tother 7 I have heard of ghosts walk- 
ing — though, thank goodness, I'm not frighted at 'em, like tho 



62 THE CHANNINGS. 

child is ! — but for a young man to go up-stairs^ night after nighty 
pretending to go to rest, and sitting up till morning light, is wbat 
I never did hear on. If it was ©nee in a chance way, 'twould be a 
diflferent thing ; but it's always. I'm sure it's pretty nigh a year 
since I ' 

' Why, Judith, you are in a brown study I' 

The interruption came from Constance, who had entered the 
kitchen to give an order. Judith looked up. 

' I'm in a peck of trouble, Miss Constance. And the worst is, I 
don't know whether to tell about it, or to keep it in. He'd not 
like it to get to missis's ears, I know : but then, you see, perhaps I 
ought to tell her — for his sake.' 

Constance smiled. 'Would you like to tell me, instead of 
mamma? Charley has been at some mischief again, among the 
saucepans ? Burnt out more bottoms, perhaps ?' 

' Not he, the darling !' resentfully rejoined Judith. ' The burn- 
ing out of that one was enough for him. I'm sure he took contri- 
tion to himself, like as if it had been made of gold.' 

' What is it, then r 

'Well,' said Judith, looking round, as if fearing the walls wotil^ 
hear, and speaking in a mysterious tone, ' it's about Mr. Haraisl 
I don't know but I will tell you, Miss Constance, and it'll be, 8( 
far, a weight off my mind. I was just saying to myself that I hi 
heard of ghosts walking, but what Mr. Hamish does every blessec 
night, I never did hear of, in all my born days.' 

Constance felt a little startled. ' What does he do ?' she hastili 
asked. 

' You know, Miss Constance, my bedroom's overhead, above tlU 
kitchen here, and, being built out on the side, I can sec the 
windows at the back of the house from it — like wo can see 'ei 
from this kitchen window, for the matter of that, if we put oul 
heads out. About a twelvemonth ago — I'm sure it's not far shoi 
of it — I took to notice that the light in Mr. Hamish's chambe|| 
wasn't put out so soon as it was in the other rooms. So, on( 
night, when I was half crazy with that face-ache— you remembel 
my having it. Miss Constance ? — and knew I shouldn't get to sleej 
if I lay down, I thought I'd just see how long he kept it m\ 
Would you believe, Miss Constance, that at three o'clock in i\\i 
morning his light was still burning !' 

' Well,' said Constance, feeling the tale was not half told. 

' I thought, what on earth could he be after ? I might havij 
feared that he had got into bed and left it alight by mistake, bi 



THE OHANNINGS. 63 

that I saw his shadow oiieo or twice pass the blind. Well, I 
didn't say a word to him next day, I thought he might not like 
it : but my mind wouldn't be easy, and I looked out again, and I 
found that, night after night, that light was in. Miss Constance, 
I thought I'd trick him : so I took care to put just about a inch 
of candle in his bed candlestick, and no more : but, law bless me ! 
when folks is bent on forbidden things, it is not candle-ends that 
will stop 'em !* 

' I suppose you mean that the light burnt still, in spite of year 
inch of candle ?' said Constance. 

'It just did,' returned Judith. 'He gets into my kitchen and 
robs my candle-box, I thought to myself. So I counted my candles 
and marked 'em; and I found I was wrong, for they wasn't 
touched. But one day, when I was putting his cupboard to rights, 
T came upon a paper right at the back. Two great big composite 
liindles it had got in it, and another half burnt away. Oh, this 
is where you keep your store, my young master, is it ? I thought. 
They were them big round things, which seems never to burn to 
an end, three to the pound.' 

Constance made no reply. Judith gathered breath, and con- 
tinued — 

' I took upon myself to speak to him. I told him it wasn't well 
for anybody's health, to sit up at night, in that fashion; not 
counting the danger he ran of setting the house on fire and burn- 
ing us all to cinders in our beds. Ho laughed — you know his 
way, Miss Constance — and said he'd take care of his health and of 
the house, and I was just to make myself easy and hold my 
tongue, and that /need not be uneasy about fire, for I could open 
my window and drop into the rain-water barrel, and there I should 
be safe. But, in spite of his joking tone, there ran through it a 

sound of command; and, from that hour to this, I have never 

opened my lips about it to nobody living.* 
' And he burns the light still ?' 
' Except Saturday and Sunday nights, it's always alight, longer 

or shorter. Them two nights, he gets into bed respectable, like 

the rest of the house do. You have noticed. Miss Constance, that, 

the evenings he is not out, he'll go up to his chamber by half-past 

nine or ten ?' 
'Frequently,' assented Constance. *As soon as the reading is 

over, ho will wish us good night.' 
' Well, them nights, when he goes up early, he puts his light out 

sooner — by twelve, or by half-past, or by one ; but when he spends 



61 THE OHANNINGS. 

liis evenings out, not getting home until eleven, he'll Lave it burU' 
ing till two or three in the morning.' 

' Whatever can he sit up for ?' involuntarily exclaimed Constance. 

'I don't know, unless it is that the work at the oflRce is too 
heavy for him,' said Judith. ' He has got his own work to do 
there, and master's as well.' 

' It is not at all heavy,' said Constance. * There is an additional 
clerk since papa's illness, you know. It cannot be that.' 

' It has to do with the office books, for certain,' returned Judith. 
' Why else is he so particular in taking 'em into his room every 
night?' 

'He takes them for safety,* spoke Constance, in a very 

hesitating manner, as if not feeling perfectly assured of the grounds 
for her assertion. 

'Maybe,' sniffed Judith, in disbelief. 'It can't be, that he sits 
up to read,' she resumed. ' Nobody in their senses would do that. 
Reading may be pleasant to some folks, especially them story 
books ; but sleep is pleasanter. This last two or three blessed 
nights, since that ill news come to make us miserable, I question 
if he has gone to bed at all, for his candle has only been put out 
when daylight come to shame it.' 

' But Judith, how do you know all this ?' exclaimed Constance, 
alter a few minutes' reflection. ' You surely don't sit up to watch 
the light .?' 

' Pretty fit I should be for ray work in the morning, if I did ! 
No, Miss Constance. I moved my bed round to the other comer, 
so as I could see his window as I lay in it ; and I have got myself 
into a habit of waking up at all hours and looking. Truth to say, 
I'm not easy : fire is sooner set alight than put out : and if there's 
the water-butt for me to drop into, there ain't water-butts for the 
rest of the house.' 

' Very true,' murmured Constance, speaking as if she were in a 
deep reverie. 

'Nobody knows the worry this has been upon my mind,' re- 
sumed Judith. 'Every night when I have seen his window 
a-shining, I have said to myself, " I'll tell my mistress of this when 
morning comes ;" but, when the morning has come, my resolution 
has failed me. It might worry her, and anger Mr. Ilamish, and 
do no good after all. If he really has not got time for his books in 
the day, why he must do 'era at night, I suppose ; it would never 
do for him to fall ofiF, and let the master's means drop througL 
What ought to be done, Miss Constance ?' 



THE CHANNINGS. 65 

' I really do not know, Judith,' replied Constance. * You must 
let n.e think about it.' 

She fell into an unpleasant reverie. The most feasible solution 
she could come to, was the one adopted by Judith — that Ilamish 
passed his nights at the books. If so, how sadly he must idle 
away his time in the day ! Did he give his hours up to nonsense 
and pleasure? And how could he contrive to hide his short- 
comings from Mr. Channing? Constance was not sure whether 
the books went regularly under the actual inspection of Mr. 
Channing, or whether Hamish went over them aloud. If only tho 
latter, could the faults be concealed ? She knew nothing of book- 
keeping, and was unable to say. Leaving her to puzzle over tho 
matter, we will return to Hamish himself. 

We left him in the last chapter, you may remember, objecting 
to go down a certain side street which would have cut off a short 
distance of their road ; his excuse to Arthur being, that a trouble- 
some creditor of his lived in it. The plea was a tiTie one. Not 
to make a mystery of it, it may as well be acknowledged that 
Hamish had contracted some debts, and that he found it difficult 
to pay them. They were not many, and a moderate sum would 
have settled them ; but that moderate sum Hamish did not possess. 
T.et us give him his due : but that he had fully counted upon a 
time of wealth being close at hand, it is probable he never would 
liave contracted them. When Hamish erred, it was invariably 
from thoughtlessness— from carelessness— never from deliberate 
intention, 

Arthur, of course, turned from the objectionable street, and 
continued his straightforwai'd course. They were frequently 
impeded; the streets were always crowded at assize time, and 
acquaintances perpetually stopped them. Amongst others they 
met Roland Yorke 

'Are you coming round to Cator's, to night.?' he asked of 
Hamish, 

'Not I,' returned Ilamish, with his usual gay laugh. *I am 
going to draw in my expenses, and settle down into a miser.' 
Moonshine!' cried Eoland. 

* Is it moonshine, though ? It is just a little bit of serious fact, 
Yorke. When lord chancellors turn against us and dash our 
hopes, we can't go on as though the exchequer had no bottom 
to it.' 

' It will cost you nothing to come to Cator's. He is expecting 
one or two chaps, and he has laid in a prime lot of Manillas.' 

F 



66 THE CHANNINGS. 

' Evening visiting costs a great deal, one way or another,' re- 
turned Ilamish, ' and I intend to drop most of mine for the present. 
You needn't stare so, Yorke.'. 

'I am staring at you. Drop evening visiting! Anybody, 
dropping that, may look to be in a lunatic asylum in six months.' 

' What a prospect for me !' laughed Hamish. 

* Will you come to Gator's ?' 

* No, thank you,' 

' Then you are a muff!' retorted Eoland, as he went on. 
It was dusk when they reached the cathedral. 
'I wonder whether the cloisters are still open?' Arthur ex- 
claimed. 

* It will not take a minute to ascertain,' said Hamish. * If not, we 
must go round.' 

They found the cloisters still unclosed, and passed in. Gloomy 
and sombre were they at that evening hour. So sombre that, in 
proceeding along the west quadrangle, the two young men 
positively started, when some dark figure glided from within a 
uiche, and stood in their way. 

' Whose ghost are you ?' cried Hamish. 

A short covert whistle of surprise answered him. ' You here V 
cried the figure, in a tone of excessive disappointment. ' What 
brings you in the cloisters so late ?* 

Hamish dextrously wound him towards what little light was 
cast from the gi-ave-yard, and discerned the features of Hurst. 
Half a dozen more figures brought themselves out of the niches- 
Stephen Bywater, young Galloway, Tod Yorke, Harrison, Hall, 
and Berkeley. 

' Let me alone, Mr. Hamish Channing. Hush ! Don't make a row.' 

* What mischief is going on. Hurst T asked Hamish. 

'Well, whatever it may have been, it strikes me you have 
stopped it,' was the reply of Hurst. * I say, wasn't there tlie 
Boundaries for you to go through, without coming bothering into 
the cloisters ?' 

' I am sorry to have spoiled sport,' laughed Hamish ; *I should 
not have liked it done to me when I was a college boy. Let us 
know what the treason was.' 

' You won't tell !' 

' No ; if it is nothing very bad. Honour bright. 

'Stop a bit. Hurst,' hastily interposed Bywater. 'There's no 
knowing what he may think "very bad." Give generals, not 
particulars. Here the fellow comes, I do believe !' 



THE CHANNINGS. G7 

* It was only a trick wo were going to servo old Ketch,' whispered 
llurst. ' Come out quietly ; better that ho should not hear us, or 
,*t may spoil sport for another time. Gently, boys !' 

Hurst and the rest stolo round the cloisters, and out at the south 
iloor. Hamish and Arthur followed, more leisurely, and less 
silently. Ketch came up. 

' Who's this here, a-haunting the cloisters at this time o' night ? 
Who be you, I ask?' 

*Tho cloisters are free until they arc closed, Ketch,* cried 
Hamish. 

' Nobody haven't got no right to pass through 'em at this hour, 
except the clergy theirselves,' grumbled the porter. ' Wo shall 
have them boys a-playing in 'em at dark, next.' 

* You should close them earlier, if you want to keep them empty,' 
returned Hamish. * W^hy don't you close them at three in tlio 
afternoon ?' 

The porter gi'owled. Ho knew that ho did not dare to closo 
them before dusk, almost dark, and he knew that Hamish knew it 
too ; and therefore he looked upon the remark as a quiet bit of 
sarcasm. ' I wish the dean 'ud give me leave to shut them boys 
out of 'em,' he exclaimed. ' It 'ud be a jovial day for me !' 

Hamish and jirthur passed out, wishing him good-night. He did 
not reply to it, but banged the gate on their heels, locked it, and 
turned to retrace his steps through the cloisters. The college 
boys, who had hidden themselves from his view, came forward 
again. 

' He has got off scot-free to-night, but perhaps ho won't do so to- 
morrow,' cried Eywater. 

' Were yon going to set upon him ?' asked Arthur. 

' Wo were not going to put a linger upon him ; I give you my 
word, wo were not,' said Hurst. 

' What, then, w^ere you going to do ?' 

But the boys would not bo caught. ' It might stop fun, yoiv 
know, Mr. Hamish. You might get telling your brother Tom ; and 
Tom he might let it out to Gaunt ; and Gaunt might turn crusty 
and forbid it. We were going to servo the fellow out ; but not 
to touch him or to hurt him ; and that's enough.' 

* As you please,' said Hamish. ' He is a surly old fellow.' 

* He is an old brute ! he's a dog in a kennel ! ho deserves hang- 
ing !' burst from the throng of boys. 

' What do you think ho went and did this afternoon ?' added 
Hurst to the two Channings. * Ho sneaked up to the dean with a 

V 2 



68 THE CHANNINGS. 

wretclicd comx}lamt of us boys, which hadn't a word of truth in it ; 
not a syllable, I assure you. He did it only because Gaunt had 
put him in a temper at one o'clock. The dean did not listen to him, 
that's one good thing. How jolhj he'd have been, just at this 
moment, if you two had not come up ! Wouldn't he, boys ?' 

The boys burst into a laugh ; roar upon roar, peal upon peal ; 
shrieking and holding their sides, till the very Boundaries echoed 
again. Laughing is infectious, and Hamish and Arthur shrieked 
out with them, not knowing in the least what it was they were 
laughing at. 

But Arthur was heavy at heart in the midst of it. * Do you 
owe much money, Hamish ?' he inquired, after they quitted the 
boys, and were walking soberly along, under the quiet elm-trees. 

'More than I can pay, old fellow, just at present,' was the 
ctuswer. 

* But is it mucli^ Hamish ?' 

' No, it is not much, taking it in the abstract. Quite a paltry 
sum.' 

Arthur caught at the word ' paltry ;' it seemed to dissipate his 
<"ears. Had he been alarming himself for nothing? 'Is it ten 
pounds, Hamish ?' 

' Ten pounds !' repeated Hamish in a tone of mockery. ' That 
would be little indeed.' 

* Is it fifty ?' 

' I dare say it may be. A pound here and a pound there, and 
a few pounds yonder — yes, taking it altogether, I expect it would 
be fifty.' 

' And how much more ?' thought Arthur to himself. ' You said 
it was a paltry sum, Hamish !' 

' Well, fifty pounds is not a large sum. Though, of course, we 
estimate sums, like other things, by comparison. You can under- 
stand now, why I was not sanguine with regard to Constance's 
hopeful project of helping my father to get to the German baths. 
I, the eldest, who ought to be the first to assist in it, am the least 
likely. I don't know how it was I managed to get into debt,' 
mused Hamish. ' It came upon me imperceptibly ; it did, indeed. 
I depended so entirely upon that money falling to us, that I grew 
careless, and would often order things which I was not in need of. 
Arthur, since that news came, I have felt overwhelmed with worry 
•ind botheration.' 

* I wish you were free !' 

' If wishes were horses, we should all get on horseback. Hov 



THE CHANNTNGS. 69 

debts grow upon you !' Hamish continued, changing bis light tone 
for a graver one. ' Until within the last day or two, when I have 
thought it necessary to take stock of outstanding claims, I had no 
idea I owed half so much.' 

' What shall you do about it ?' 

' That is more easily asked than answered. My own fimds aro 
forestalled for some time to come. And, the worst is, that, now 
this suit is known to have terminated against us, people are not so 
^villing to wait, as they were before. I have had no end of thera 
after me to-day.' 

' How shall you contrive to satisfy them ?' 

* Satisfy them in some way, I must.' 

* But how, I ask, Hamish ?' 

' Eob some bank or other,' replied Hamish, in his ofF-hand, joking 
way. 
' Shall you speak to my father ?' 

* Where's the use ?' returned Hamish. * He cannot help me just 
now ; he is straitened enough himself.' 

' He might help you with advice. His experience is larger than 
yours, his judgment better. "In the multitude of counsellors 
there is safety," yru know, Hamish.' 

' I have made up my mind to say nothing to my father. If he 
could assist me, I would disclose all to him : as it is it would only 
be inflicting upon him unnecessary pain. Understand, Arthur, 
wliat I have said to you is in confidence : you must not speak of it 
to him.' 

' Of course not. I should not think of interfering between you 
and him. I wish I could help you !' 

' I wish you could, old fellow. But you need not look so serious.' 

' How you can be so gay and careless over it, I cannot imagine,' 
said Arthur. 

Hamish laughed. * If there's only a little patch of sunshine as 
Jirgc as a man's hand, I am sure to see it and trust to it. 

* Is there any sunshine in this ?' 

* A little bit : and I hope it will help me out of it. I am sure I 
was bom with a large share of hope in my composition.' 

* Show me the bit of sunshine, Hamish.' 

' I can't do that,' was the answer. ' I fear it is not so much the 
actual sunshme that's to be seen yet— only the reflection of it. 
You could not see it at all, Arthur; but I, as I tell you, am ex- 
travagantly hopeful.' 

The same ever gay tone, the same pleasant smile, accompanied 



70 THE OHANNINGS. 

the words. And yet, at that moment, instead of walking straight- 
forward into the open space beyond the elm-trees, as Arthur did, 
Hamish withdrew his arm from his brother's, and halted under 
their shade, peering cautiously around. They were then within 
view of their own door. 

' What are you looking at ?' 

' To make sure that the coast is clear. I heard to-day — Arthur, I 
know that I shall shock you — that a fellow had taken a writ out 
against me. I don't want it to get served, if I can help it.' 

Arthur was indeed shocked. ' Oh, Hamish !' was all he uttered. 
But the tone betrayed a strange amomit of pain mingled with 
reproach. 

* You must not think ill of me. I declare that I have been led 
into this scrape blindfold, as may be said. I never dreamt I 
was getting into it. I am not reckless by nature ; and, but for the 
reliant expectation of that money, I should be free now as you are.' 

Thought upon thought was crowding over Arthur's mind. He 
did not speak. 

' I cannot charge myself with any foolish or unnecessary ex- 
penditure,' Hamish resumed. ' And,' he added in a deeper tone, 
' my worst enemy will not accuse me of rashly incuiTing debts tc 
gratify my own pleasures. I do not get into mischief. Were 
addicted to drinking, or to gambling, my debts might have beei 
ten times what they are.' 

' They are enough, it seems,' said Arthur. But he spoke the 
words in sadness, not in a spirit of reproof. 

' Arthur, they may prove of the greatest service, in teaching me| 
caution for the future. Perhaps I wanted the lesson. Let mc 
once get out of this hash, and I will take pretty good care not t( 
f^tep into another.* 

If you only can get out of it.' 

* Oh, I shall do it, somehow ; never fear. Let us go on ; ther( 
Booms to be nobody about.' 



CHAPTEE X. 

A F^.LSE ALARM, 



They reached home unmolested. Arthur went straight to Mi 
Channing, who was lying as usual on his sofa, and bent over hi 
with a smile, sweet and hopeful as that of Hamish. 



THE CHANNINGS. 71 

* Father, may I gain fifty pounds a year, if I can do it, without 
detriment to my place at Mr. Galloway's?' 

' What do you say, my boy ?' 

' Would you have any objection to my taking the organ at 
college on week days ? Mr. Williams has offered it to me.' 

Mr. Channing turning his head and looked at him. He did not 
comprehend. ' You could not take it, Arthur ; you could not be 
absent from the office ; and young Jupp takes the organ. What is 
it that you are talking of ?' 

Arthur explained in his quiet manner, a glad light shining out of 
his eyes. Jupp had left the college for good, and Mr. Williams had 
offered the place to him, and Mr. Galloway had authorized him to 
accept it. He should only have to go to the office for two hours 
before breakfast in a morning, to make up for the two lost in the 
day. 

'My brave boy!' exclaimed Mr. Channing, making prisoner of 
his hand. ' I said this untoward loss of the suit might turn out to 
be a blessing in disguise. And so it will ; it is bringing forth the 
sterling love of my children. You are doing this for me, Arthur.' 

' Doing it a great deal for myself, papa. You do not know the 
f^atification it will be to me, those two hours' play daily !' 

* I understand, my dear — understand it all !' 

' Especially as ' Arthur came to a sudden stop. 

' Especially as what ?' asked Mr. Channing. 

* As I had thought of giving up taking lessons,' Arthur hastily 
added, not going deeper into explanations. ' I play quite well 
enough, now, to cease learning. Mr. Williams said one day, that, 
Avith practice, I might soon equal him.' 

' I wonder what those iDarents do, Arthur, who own imgrateful 
or rebellious children !' Mr. Channing exclaimed, after a pause of 
thought. * The world is full of trouble ; and it is of many kinds, 
and takes various phases ; but if we can but be happy in our chil- 
dren, all other trouble may pass lightly over us, as a summer cloud. 
I thank God that my children have never brought home to me an 
hour's care. How merciful he Jias been to me !* 

Arthur's thoughts reverted to Hamisli and Ms trouble. He felt 
thankful, then, that it was hid from Mr. Channing. 

* I have already accepted the place, papa. I knew I might count 
upon your consent.' 

' Upon my warm approbation. My son, do your best at your 
task. And,' Mr. Channing added, sinking his voice to a whisper, 
* when the choristers peal out theu- hymn of praise to God, during 



72 THE OHANNINGS. 

these sacred services, let your heart ascend with it in fervent praise 
and thanksgiving. Too many go through these sendees in a matter- 
of-course spirit, their heart being far away. Do not you.' 

Hamish at this moment came in, carrying the books. * Are you 
ready sir ? There's not much to do, this evening.' 

* Eeady at any time, Hamish.' 

Hamish laid the books before him on the table, and sat down. 
Arthur quitted the room. Mr. Channing liked to be alone with 
Hamish when the accounts were being gone over. 

Mrs. Channing was in the drawing-room, some of the children 
with her. Arthur entered. 'Mrs. Channing,' cried he, witli 
mock ceremony, 'allow me to introduce you to the assistant- 
organist of the cathedral.' 

She smiled, supposing it was some joke. 'Very well, sir. He 
can come in !' 

* He is in, ma'am. It is myself.' 

* Is young Mr. Jupp there ?' she asked ; for he sometimes came 
home with Arthur. 

' Young Mr. Jupp has disappeared from public life, and I am ap- 
pointed to his place. It is true.' 

* Arthur !' she remonstrated. 

'* Mamma, indeed it is true. Mr. Williams has given me the 
place, and Mr. Galloway has consented to allow me the time to at- 
tend the week-day services ; and papa is glad of it, and I hope you 
will be.' 

'/have known of it since this morning,' spoke Tom, with an as- 
Bumption of easy consequence ; while Mrs. Channing was gathering 
her senses, which had been nearly scared away. ' Arthur, I hope 
Williams intends to pay you .?' 

'Fifty pounds a year. And the copying besides.' 

' Is it true, Arthur?' breathlessly exclaimed Mrs. Channing. 

'I have told you that it is, mother mine. Jupp has resigned, 
and I am assistant-organist.' 

Annabel danced round him in an ecstasy of delight. Not at his 
success — success or failure did not much trouble Annabel — but she 
thought there might be a prospect of some fun in store for hersell. 
' Arthur, you'll let me come into the cathedral and blow for you ?' 

* You little stupid !' cried Tom. ' Much good you could do at 
blowing ! A girl blowing the bellows of the college organ ! That's 
?ich ! Better let Williams catch you there ! She'd actually go, I 
believe !' 

* It is not your business, Tom it is Arthur's,' retorted Annabel, 



THE CHANNINGS. 73 

with flushed cheeks. 'Mamma, can't you teach Tom to interfere 
witli himself, and not with me ?' 

* I would rather teach Annabel to be a young lady, and not a 
tomboy,' said Mrs. Channing. 'You may as well wish to be 
allowed to ring the college bells, as blow the bellows, child. 

' I should like that,' said Annabel. ' Oh, what fun, if the cord 
went up with me !' 

Mrs. Channing turned a reproving glance on her, and resumed 
her conversation with Arthur—' Why did you not tell me before, 
my boy ? It was too good news to keep to yourself. How long 
has it been in contemplation ?' 

' Dear mamma, only to-day. It was but this morning that Jupp 
resigned.' 

' Only to-day ! It must have been decided very hastily, then, for a 
measure of that sort.' 

* Mr. Williams was so put to it that he took care to lose no time. 
He spoke to me at one o'clock. I had gone to him in the cathedral, 
asking for the copying, which I heard was going begging, and he 
broached the other subject, on the spur of the moment, as it seemed 
to me. Nothing could be decided until I had spoken to Mr. 
Galloway, and that I did after he left here, this afternoon. He 
will allow me to be absent from the office an hour, morning 
and afternoon, on condition that I attend for two hours before 
breakfast.' 

•But, Arthur, you will have a great deal upon your hands.' 
' Not any too much. It will keep me out of mischief.' 
' When shall you find time to do the copying ?' 
' In an evening, I suppose. I will find plenty of time.' 
As Hamish had observed, there was little to do at the books, that 
evening, and he soon left the parlour. Constance happened to be 
in the hall as he crossed it, on his way to his bedroom. Judith, 
who appeared to have been on the watch^ came gliding from the 
half-opened kitchen door and approached Constance, looking after 
Hamish as he ascended the stairs. 

'Do you see. Miss Constance?' she whispered. 'He is a-carrying 
the books up with him, as usual !' 

At this juncture, Hamish turned round to speak to his sister 
'Constance, I don't want any supper to night, tell my mother. 
You can call me when it is time for the reading.' 

* And he is going to set on at 'em, now, and he'll be at 'em till 
morning light !' continued Judith's whisper. ' And he'll drop off 
into his grave with decline ! — 'taint in the nature of a young man 



74 THE CHANNINGS. 

to do without sleep — and that'll be the ending ! And he 11 buni 
himself up first, and all the house with him.' 

' I think I will go and speak to him,' debated Constance. 

* 1 should,' advised Judith. ' The worst is, if the books must be 
done, why, they must ; and I don't see that there is any help for it.' 

But Constance hesitated, considerably. She did not at all like to 
interfere ; it appeared so very much to resemble the work of a spy. 
Several minutes she deliberated, and then went slowly up the 
stairs. I^ocking at Hamish's door, she turned the handle, and 
would have entered. It was locked. 

' Who's there ?' called out Hamish. 

* Can I come in for a minute, Hamish ? I want to say a word to 
you.' 

He did not undo the door immediately. There appeared to be an 
opening and shutting of his desk-table, first — a scuffle, as if 
things were being put away. When Constance entered, she saw 
one of the insurance books open on the table, the pen and ink neai* 
it ; the others were not to be seen. His keys were hanging from 
the table lock. A conviction flashed over the mind of Constance 
that Judith was right, in supposing the office accounts to be the 
object that kept him up. ' What can he do with his time in th« 
day ?' she thought. 

' What is it, Constance ?' 

* Can you let me speak to you, Hamish ?' 

' If you won't be long. I was just beginning to be busy,' he 
replied, taking out the keys and putting them in his pocket. 

* I sec you were,* she said, glancing at the ledger. * Hamish, you 
must not be ofiended with me, or think I interfere unwarrantably. 
I would not do it, but that I am anxious for you. Why is it that 
you sit up so late at night ?' 

There was a sudden accession of colour in his face — Constance 
saw it ; but there was a smile as well. * How do you know I do 
sit up ? Has Judy been telling tales ?' 

'Judy is uneasy about it, and she spoke to me this evening. 
She has visions of the house being burnt up with everybody in it, 
and of your injuring your health fatally. I believe she would deem 
the latter calamity almost more grievous then the former, for you 
know you were always her favourite. Hamish ; is there no dangci 
of either ?' 

' There is not. I am too cautious for the one to happen, and, I 
believe, too hardy for the other. Judy is a simpleton,' he laughed; 
* she has got her safety water-butt, and what more can she dcsko?' 



i 



THE CHANNINGS. 75 

*Hamisb, why do you sit up ? Have you not time for- your work 
in the day ?' 

' No. Or else I should do it in the day. I do not sit up so as to 
hurt me. I get, on an average, three hours' night-work, five days 
in the week ; and if that can damage a strong fellow like me, call 
me a puny changeling.' 

* You sit up much longer than that ?' 

' Not frequently. These light days, I sometimes do not sit up 
/lalf so long ; I get up in the morning, instead. Constance, you 
look grave enough for a judge !' 

* And you, laughing enough to provoke me. Sui)pose I tell papa 
of this habit of yours, and get him to forbid it ? 

' Then, my dear, you would work irreparable mischief,* he 
replied, becoming grave in his turn. 'Were I to be prevented 
doing as I please in my chamber in this house, I must get a room 
elsewhere, in which I should be my own master.' 

'Hamish!' 

' You obhge me to say it, Constance. You and Judy must lay 
your heads together upon some other grievance, for, indeed, for this 
particular one there is no remedy. She is an old goose, and you 
are a young one.' 

' Is it right that we should submit to the risk of being set fire 
to?' 

* My dear, if that is the point, I'll have a fire-escape reared over 
the front door every night, and pay a couple of watchmen to act as 
guardians. Constance !' again leaving his tone of mockery, ' you 
know that you may trust me better than that.' 

' But, Hamish, how do you spend your time in the day, that you 
cannot complete your books then ?' 

' Oh,' drawled Hamish, * ours is the laziest ojEce ! gossiping 
and scandal going on in it from morning till night. In the fatigue 
induced by that, I am not sure but I take a nap, sometimes.' 

Constance could not tell what to make of him. He was gazmg 
at her with the most perplexing expression of face, looking ready to 
burst into a laugh. ' 

' One last word, Hamish, for I hear Judith calling to you. Are 
you obliged to do this nightwork.?' 

'lam.' 

' Then I will say no more ; and things must go on as it seems 
they have hitherto done.' 

Arthur came running up the stairs, and Hamish met him at the 
chamber door. Arthm*, who appeared strangely agitated, began 



TS * THE CHANNTNGS. 

speaking iu a half-wliisper, unconscions that his sister was within, 
She heard every word. 

* Judy says some young man wants you, Hamish ! I fear it may 
be the fellow to serve the writ. What on earth is to be done ?' 

* Did Judy say I was at home ?' 

* Yes ; and has handed him into the study, to wait. Did you not 
hear her calling to you ?' 

' I can't ' * see him,' Hamish was about to say. * Yes, I will 

Bee him,' he added after a moment's reflection. ' Anything rather 
then have a disturbance which might come to my mother's ears. 
And I suppose if he could not serve it now, he would watch for me 
in the morning.' 

' Shall I go down first, and hear what he has to say ?' 

* Arthur, boy, it would do no good. I have brought this upon 
myself and must battle with it. A Channing cannot turn 
coward!* 

* But he may act with discretion,' said Arthur. ' I will speak to 
the man, and if there's is no help for it, I'll call you.' 

Down flew Arthur, four stairs at a time. Hamish remained with 
his body inside his chamber door, and his head out. I conclude he 
was listening ; and, in the confusion, he had probably totally for- 
gotten Constance. Arthur came bounding up the stairs again, his 
eyes sparking. 

* A false alarm, Hamish ! It's only Martin Pope.' 

'Martin Pope!' echoed Hamish, considerably relieved, for 
Martin Pope was an acquaintance of his, and sub-editor of one of 
the Helstonleigh newspapers. * Why could not Judy have opened 
her mouth?' 

He ran down the stairs, the colour, which had left his face, 
returning to it. But it did not to that of Constance; hers had 
changed to an ashy whiteness. Arthur saw her standing there ; 
saw that she must have heard and comprehended all. 

' Oh, Arthur, has it come to this ? Is Hamish in that depth of 
debt?' 

* Hush ! Whatever brought you here, Constance ?' 

* What writ is it that he fears ? Is there indeed one out against 
him ?' 

* I don't know much about it. There may be one.' 

She wi-ung her hands. ' The next thing to a writ is a prison, is 
it not ? If he should be taken, what would become of the office— 
of papa's place ?' 

* Do not agitate yourself,' he implored. ' It can do no good.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 77 

Nothing can do good ; nothing, nothing. Oh I what trouble !* 
'Constance, in the greatest trouble there is always one 

' Yes,' she mentally thought, bursting into tears. * What, but 
for that shelter, would become of us in our bitter hours of trial ?'' 



CHAPTEE XI. 

THE CLOISTER KEYS. 

It was the twenty-second day of the month, and nearly a week 
Rubsequent to the date of the last chapter, Arthur Channing sat 
in his place at the cathedral organ, playing the Psalm for the 
morning ; for the hour was that of divine service. 

' Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious ; and his 
mercy endureth for ever !' 

The boy's whole heart went up with the words. lie gave 
thanks : mercies had come upon him — upon his ; and that great 
dread — which was turning his days to gall, his nights to sleeplessness 
— the arrest of Hamish, had not as yet been attempted. He felt it 
all as he sat there ; and, in a softer voice, he echoed the melodious 
song of the choristers below, verse after verse as each verse rose 
sweetly on the air, filling the aisles of the old cathedral : how that 
God delivers those who cry unto Him — those who sit in darkness 
and in the shadow of death ; those whose hearts fail through heavi- 
ness, who fall down and there is none to help them — He brings them 
out of the darkness, and breaks their bonds in sunder. They that 
go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great 
waters, who see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the 
deep ; whose hearts cower at the stormy rising of the waves, and in 
their agony of distress they cry unto Him to help them ; and He 
hears the cry, and delivers them. He stills the angry waves, and 
makes the storm a calm, and brings them into the haven where 
they would be ; and then they are glad, because they are at rest. 

* Oh that men would therefore praise the Lord for His goodness : 
and declare the wonders that He doeth for the children of men ! 

' And again, when they are minished, and brought low : through 
oppression, through any plague or trouble ; though He suffer them 
to be evil intreated through tyrants : and let them wander out of 
the way in the wilderness ; yet helpeth He the poor out of misery 
and makcth him households like a flock of sheep. 



78 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Whoso is wise will ponder these things : and they shall under- 
stand the loving-kindness of the Lord.' 

The refrain died away, the gentle sound of the echo died after it, 
and silence fell upon the cathedral. It was broken by the voice 
of the Eeverend William Yorke, giving out the first lesson — a 
chapter in Jeremiah. 

At the final conclusion of the service, Arthur Channing quitted 
the college. In the cloisters he was overtaken by the choristers, 
who were hastening back to the schoolroom. At the same mo- 
ment Ketch, the porter, passed, coming towards them from the 
south entrance of the cloisters. He touched his hat in his usual 
ungracious fashion to the dean and Dr. Gardner, who were turning 
into the chaptcf-house, carrying their trenchers, and looked the 
other way as he passed the boys. 

Arthur caught hold of Hurst. 'Have you "served out "old 
Ketch, as you threatened ?' he laughingly asked. 

* Hush !' whispered Hurst. ' It has not come off" yet. We had 
an idea that an inkling of it had got abroad, so we thouglit it best 
to keep quiet for a few nights, lest the Philistines should be on 
the watch. But the time is fixed now, and I can tell you that it is 
not a hundred nights off.' 

With a shower of mysterious nods and winks, Hurst rushed 
away and bounded up the stairs to the schoolroom. Arthur 
returned to Mr. Galloway's. 

'Ifs the awfullest shame !' burst forth Tom Channing that day 
at dinner (and allow me to remark, en pare?ithese, that, in reading 
about schoolboys, you must be content to accept their grammar as 
it comes) ; and he brought the handle of his knife down upon tlio 
table in a passion. 

' Thomas !' uttered Mr. Channing, in amazed reproof. 

' Well, papa, and so it is ! and the school's going pretty near mad 
over it !' returned Tom, turning his crimsoned face upon his father. 
* Would you believe that I and Huntley are to be passed over in the 
chance for the seniorship, and Yorke is to have it, without refer 
ence to merit ?' 

' No, I do not believe it, Tom,' quietly replied Mr. Channing. 
' But, even were it true, it is no reason why you should burst out 
in that unseemly manner. Did you ever know a hot temper do 
good to its possessor ?' 

' I know I am hot-tempered,' confessed Tom. ' I cannot help it, 
papa ; it was born with mo.' 

* Many of our failings were bom with us, my boy, as I Lave 



I 



THE 0HANNING8. 79 

always understood. But they are to be subdued; not ii\- 
lulged.' 

' Papa, you must acknowledge that it is a shame if Pye has 
promised the seniorship to Yorke, over my head and Huntley's,' 
reiterated Tom, who was apt to speak as strongly as he thought. 
* If he gets the seniorship, the exhibition will follow, that is an 
understood thing. Would it be just ?' 

* Why are you saying this ? What have you heard ?' 

'Well, it is a roundabout tale,' answered Tom. 'But the 
rumour in the school is this — and if it turns out to be true, Gerald 
Yorke will about get eaten up alive.' 

' Is that the rumour, Tom ?' said Mrs. Channing. 

Tom laughed, in spite of his anger. ' I had not come to the 
rumour, mamma. Lady Augusta and Dr. Burrows are great 
friends, you know ; and wo hear that they have been salving over 
Pye ' 

* Gently, Tom !' put in Mr. Channing. 

* Talking over Pye, then,' coiTCcted Tom, all impatient to 
proceed with his story ; ' and Pye has promised to promote Gerald 
Yorke to the seniorship. He ' 

* Dr. Burrows is gone away again,' interrupted Annabel. * I saw 
him go by to-day in his travelling carriage. Judy says he is gone 
to his rectory ; some of the deanery servants told her so.' 

' You'll get something, Annabel, if you interrupt in that fashion,' 
cried Tom. ' Last Monday Dr. Burrows gave a dinner party. Pye 
was there, and Lady Augusta was there ; and it was then they got 
Pye to promise it to Yorke.* 

* How is it known that they did ?' asked Mr. Channing. 

'The boys all say it, papa. It was circulating through the 
school this morning like wild-fire.' 

' You will never take the prize for logic, Tom. How did the 
Soys hear it, I ask ?' 

' Through Mr. Calcraft,' replied Tom. 

'Tom!' 

* Mr. Ketch, then,' said Tom, correcting himself as he had done 
previously. ' Both names are a mile too good for him. Ketch came 
into contact with some of the boys this morning before ten o'clock 
school, and, of course, they went into a wordy war — which is 
nothing new. Huntley was the only senior present, and Ketch was 
insolent to him. One of the boys told Ketch that he would not 
dare to be so, next year, if Huntley should be senior boy. Ketch 
sneered at that, and said Huntley never would be senior boy, nor 



80 THE CHANNINGS. 

Channing either, for it was already given to Yorkc. The boys took 
his words up, ridiculing the notion of his knowing anything of the 
matter, and they did not spare their taunts. That roused his 
temper, and the old fellow let out all he knew. He said Lady 
Augusta Yorke was at Galloway's office yesterday, boasting about 
it before Jenkins. 

' A roundabout tale, indeed !' remarked Mr. Channing ; ' and told 
in a somewhat roimdabout manner, Tom. I should not put faith 
in it. Did you hear anything of this, Arthur ?' 

'No, sir. I know that Lady Augusta called at the office 
yesterday afternoon while I was at college. I don't know any- 
thing more.' 

'Huntley intends to drop across Jenkins this afternoon, and 
question him,' resumed Tom • Channing. 'There can't bo any 
doubt that it was he who gave the information to Ketch. If 
Huntley finds that Lady Augusta did assert it, the school will take 
the affair up.' 

The boast amused Hamish. ' In what manner will the school be 
pleased to " take it up ?" ' questioned he. ' Eecommend the dean to 
hold Mr. Pye under surveillance ? or send Lady Augusta a challenge ?' 

Tom Channing nodded his head mysteriously. * There is many 
a true word spoken in jest, Hamish. I don't know yet what we 
should do : we should do something. The school won't stand it 
tamely. The day for that one-sided sort of oppression has gone 
out with our grandmothers' fashions.' 

'It would be very wrong of the school to stand it,' said Charley, 
throwing in his word. ' If the honours are to go by sneaking 
favour, and not by merit, where is the use of any of us putting out 
our metal ?' 

' You be quiet. Miss Charley ! you juniors have nothing to do 
with it,' were all the thanks the boy got from Tom. 

Now the facts really were very much as Tom Channing 
Asserted ; though whether, or how far, Mr. Pye had promised, 
and whether Lady Augusta's boast had been a vain one, was a 
matter of speculation. Neither could it be surmised the part, if 
any, played in it by Prebendary Burrows. It was certain that 
Lady Augusta had, on the previous day, boasted to Mr. Galloway, 
in his office, that her son was to have the seniorship ; that Mr. Pye 
had promised it to her and Dr. Burrows, at the dinner party. She 
spoke of it without the least reserve, in a tone of much self- 
gratulation, and she laughingly told Jenkins, who was at his desk 
writing, that he might wish Gerald joy when he next saw him. 



THE OHANNINGS. 81 

Jenkins took it all in for truth : it may be questioned if Mr. 
Galloway did, for lie knew that Lady Augusta did not always 
weigh her words before speaking. 

In the evening — this same evening, mind, aftef the call at the 
office of Lady Augusta — Mr. Jenkins proceeded towards homo 
when he left his work. He took the road through the cloisters. 
As he was passing the porter's lodge, who should he see in it but 
his father, old Jenkins, the bedesman, holding a gossip with Ketch ; 
and they saw him. 

* If that aint our Joe a-going past !' exclaimed the bedesman. 

Joe stepped in. He was proceeding to join in the converse, 
when a lot of tlie college boys tore along, hooting and shouting, 
and kicking a ball about. It was kicked into the lodge, and a few 
compliments were thrown at the boys by the porter, before they 
could get the ball out again. These compliments, you may be 
quite sure, the boys did not fail to return with interest: Tom 
Channing, in particular, being charmingly polite. 

' And the saucy young beast '11 be the senior boy soon !' foamed 
Mr. Ketch, as the lot decamped. * I wish I could get him gagged, 
I do!' 

'No, he will not,' said Joe Jenkins, speaking impulsively in his 
superior knowledge. ' Yorke is to be senior.' 

' How do you know that, Joe ?' asked his liither. 

Joe replied by relating what he had heard said by the Lady 
Augusta that afternoon. It did not conciliate the porter in the 
remotest degree : he was no more favourable to Gerald Yorke 
than he was to Tom Channing. Had he heard the school never 
was to have a senior again, or a junior either, that might have 
pleased him. 

But on the following morning, when he fell into dispute with 
the boys in the cloisters, he spoke out nis information in a spirit of 
triumph over Huntley. Bit by bit, angered by the boys' taunts, he 
repeated every word he had heard from Jenkins. The news, as it 
was busily circulated from one to the other, caused no slight hub- 
bub in the scliool, and gave rise to that explosion of Tom Channing's 
at the dinner-table. 

Huntley sought Jenkins, as he had said he would do, and re- 
ceived the confirmation of the report, so far as the man's know- 
ledge went. But Jenkins was terribly vexed at the report having 
got abroad, through him. He determined to pay a visit to Mr. 
Ketch, and reproach him with his incaution. 

Mr. Ketch sat in his lodge, taking his supper— bread and cheese, 

a 



82 THE CHANNINGS. 

and a pint of ale procured at the nearest public-house. Except in 
the light months of summer, it was his habit to close the cloister 
gates before supper-time ; but as Mr. Ketch liked to take that meal 
early (eight o'clock), and, as dusk, for at least four months in the 
year, obstinately persisted in putting itself off to a later hour, in 
spite of his growling, and as he might not shut up before dusk, he 
had no resource but to eat first and lock up afterwards. The 
' lodge ' was a quaint abode, of one room only, built in an obscure 
nook of the cathedral, near the grand entrance. He was pursuing 
his meal after his own peculiar custom : eating, drinking, and 
grumbling. 

* It'3 worse nor leather, this cheese I Selling it to a body for 
double-Gloucester ! I'd like to double them as made it. Eight- 
pence a pound ! — and short weight beside ! I wonder there aint a 
law passed to keep the cost o' provisions down !' 

A pause, given chiefly to grunting, and Mr. Ketch resumed :- • 

* This bread's rougher nor a bear's hide ! Go and ask for new, 
and they palms you off with stale. They'll put a loaf a week old 
into the oven to hot it up again, and then sell to you for new ! 
There ought to be a criminal code passed for hanging bakers. 
They be all cheats. They mixes up alum, and bone-dust, and 

plaster of Paris, and Drat that door! Who's a-kicking at it 

now ?' 

Nobody was kicking. Somebody was civilly knocking. The 
door was pushed slightly open, and the inoffensive face of Mr. 
Joseph Jenkins appeared in the aperture. 

' I say, Mr. Ketch,' began he in a mild tone of deprecation, 
' whatever is it that you have gone and done ?' 

* "What d'ye mean?' growled old Ketch. * Is this a way to come 
and set upon a gentleman in his own house ? AYho taught you 
manners, Joe Jenkins ?' 

*You have been repeating what I mentioned last night about 
Lady Augusta's son getting the seniorship,' said Jenkins, coming 
in and closing the door. 

* You did say it,' retorted Mr. Ketch. 

' I Imow I did. But I did not suppose you were going to repeat 
it again.' 

' If it was a secret, why didn't you say so ?' asked Mr. Ketch, 
bestowing a few more hard words upon his cheese. 

' It was not exactly a secret, or Lady Augusta would not havo 
mentioned it before me,' remonstrated Joe. 'But it is not the 
proper thing, for me to come out of Mr. Galloway's office, and talk 



THE CHANNIifGS. 88 

of anything I may have heard said in it by his friends, and then for 
it to get round to his ears again ! Put it to yourself, Mr. Ketch^ 
and say whether you would like it.* 

' What did you talk of it for, then ?' snarled Ketch, preparing to 
take a copious draught of ale. 

' Because I thought you and father were safe. You might both 
have known better than to speak of it out of doors. There is sure 
to be a commotion over it.' 

' Miserable beer ! they have took and brewed it out of ditch- 
water !' 

' Young Mr. Huntley came to me to-day, to know the rights and 
the wrongs of it— as he said,' continued Joseph. * He spoke to 
Mr. Galloway about it afterwards— though I must say he was kind 
enough not to bring in my name ; only said, in a general way, that 
he had "heard" it. He is an honourable young gentleman, is 
that Huntley. He vows the report shall be conveyed to the dean.' 

' Serve 'em right !' snapped the porter. ' If the dean does his 
duty, he'll order a general flogging for the school, all round. It'll 
do 'em good.' 

'Galloway did not say much — except that he knew what he 
should do, were he Huntley's or Channing's father. "Which I 
took to mean that, in his opinion, there ought to be an inquiry 
instituted.' 

'And you know there ought,' said Mr. Ketch. 

' 1 know ! I'm sure I don't know,' was the mild answer. * It 
is not my place to reflect upon my superiors, Mr. Ketch — to say 
they should do this, or they should do that. I like to reverence 
them, and to keep a civil tongue in my head.' 

'Which is what you don't do. If I knowed who brewed this 
beer I'd enter a action again him, for putting in no malt. It's 
swipes ; it aint good wholesome beer.' 

' I would not have had this get about for any money !' resumed 
Jenkins. ' Neither you nor father shall ever catch me opening my 
lips again.' 

' Keep 'em shut then,' growled old Ketch. ' I wish them as 
made this bread had the eating of it I the world's full of nothing 
but thieves and pickpockets 1' 

Mr. Ketch leisurely finished his supper, and the two continued 
talking until dusk came on— nearly dark; for the porter, churl 
tliough he was, hked a visitor as well as anybody— possibly as a 
vent for his temper. He did not often get one who would stand it 
fio meekly as Joe Jenkins. At length Mi\ Jenkins lifted himself 

G 2 



84 THE CHANNINGS. 

oif the shut-up press bedstead on which he had been perched, and 
prepared to go. 

' Come along of me while I lock up,' said Ketch, somewhat less 
ungraciously than usual, 

Mr. Jenkins hesitated. ' My wife will be wondering what has 
become of me ; she'll blow me up for keeping the supper waiting,' 
debated he, aloud. * But — well, I don't mind going with you this 
once, for company's sake,' he added in his obliging yieldingness. 

The large keys, two, one at each end of a string, were hung up 
just within the lodge door ; they belonged to the tw^o gates of the 
cloisters. Old Ketch took them down and went out with Jenkins, 
merely shutting his own door ; he rarely fastened it, unless he was 
going some distance. 

Very dark were the enclosed cloisters, as they entered by the 
west gate. It was later than the usual hour of closing, and it 
was, moreover, a gloomy evening, the sky overcast as with a pall. 
They went through the cloisters to the south gate. Ketch grum- 
bling all the way. He locked it, and then turned back again. 

Arrived about midway of the west quadrangle, the very darkest 
part in all the cloisters, and the most dreary, Jenkins suddenly 
startled his companion by declaring there was a light in the 
burial-ground. 

' Come along !' growled Ketch. ' You'll say there's coi-psc candles 
there next.' 

'It is but a little spark, like,' said Jenkins, halting. *I should 
not wonder but it is one of those pretty, innocent glowworms.' 

He leaned his arms upon the muUioned frame of the open 
Gothic window, raised himself on tiptoe to get as complete a view 
as was practicable, and pushed his head out to reconnoitre the 
grave-yard. Mr. Ketch shuffled on ; the keys, held somewhat 
loosely in his hand by the string, clanking together. 

' Be you a-going to stop there all night ?' he called out, when 
he had gone a few paces, half turning round to speak. 

At that moment a somewhat startling incident occurred. The 
keys were whisked out of Mr. Ketch's hand, and fell, or appeared 
to fall, with a clatter on the flags at his feet. He turned his anger 1 
upon Jenkins. 

* Now then, you senseless calf ! What did you do that for .?' 

* Did you speak ?' asked Jenkins, taking his elbows from the j 
distant window-frame, and approaching. 

Mr. Ketch felt a little staggered. His belief had been that; 
Jenkins had come up silently, and dashed the keys from hia 



THE OHANNINGS. 86 

hand ; but Jenkins, it appeared, had not left the window. How- 
ever, like too many other cross-grained spirits, he persisted in 
venting the bhime upon him. 

'Aren't you ashamed of yourself, to play a old nuan such a 
trick?' 

' I have played no trick,' said Jenkins. ' I thought 1 saw a 
glowworm, and I stopped to look ; but I couldn't see it again. 
There's no trick in that.' 

' Ugh !' cried the porter in his wrath. ' You took and clutched 
the keys from me, and throwed 'em on the ground ! Pick 'em up.' 

' Well, I never heard the like !' said Jenkins. ' I was not within 
yards and yards of you. If you dropped the keys it was no fault 
of mine.' But, being a peaceably-inclined man, he stooped and 
found the keys. 

The porter grunted. An inner current of conviction rose in his 
heart that he must undoubtedly have dropped them, though he 
could have declared at the time that they were mysteriously 
snatched from him. Ho seized the string finnly now, and hobbled 
on to the west door, abusing Jenkins all the way. 

They arrived at the west door, which was gained by a narrow 
closed passage from the gate of entrance, as was the south door in 
a similar manner; and there -Mr. Ketch used his eyes and his 
tongue considerably, for the door, instead of being open, as he had 
left it, was shut and locked. 

' AVhat on earth has done this ?' shrieked he. 

* Done what '?' asked Mr. Jenkins. 

* Done what !' was the irascible echo. * Be you a fool, Joe 
Jenkins ? Don't you see the door's fast ?' 

* Unfasten it,' said Jenkins sensibly. 

Mr. Ketch proceeded to do so — at least to apply one of the 
keys to the lock — with much fumbling. It apparently did not 
occur to him to wonder how the locking process could have been 
effected, considering that the key had been in his own possession. 

Fumbling and fumbling, now with one key, now with the other, 
and then with critical feeling of the keys and their wards, the truth 
at length burst upon the unhappy man that the keys were not the 
1 ight keys, and that he and Jenkins were— locked in ! The per- 
spiration broke out over him as large as peas. 

' They must be the keys,' remonstrated Mr. Jenkins. 

' They are not the keys,' shrieked Ketch. ' D'ye think 1 don't 
know my own keys, now I come to feel 'em?' 

' But they were your keys that fell down and that I picked up^ 



86 THE CHANNING8. 

argued Jenkins, perfectly sure in his own mind, that they could bo 
no others. ' Tiiere was not a fairy in the cloisters to come and 
change them.' 

* Feel 'em !' roared Ketch, in his despair. ' These be a couple 
of horrid, rusty old things, as can't have been in use since the 
cloisters was built. You have changed 'em, you have !' he sobbed, 
the notion taking possession of him forcibly. ' You are a-doing it 
to play me a infamous trick, and I'll have you up before the dean 
*o-morrow ! I'll shake the life out of you, I will !' 

Laying summary hold of Mr. Jenkins, he began to shake him with 
all his feeble strength. The latter soon extricated himself, and he 
succeeded in impressing on the man the fallacy of his suspicion. 
Don't I want to get home to my supper and my wife ? Don't I 
tell you that she'll set upon me like anything for keeping it wait- 
ing ?' he meekly remonstrated. ' Do I want to be locked up in 
these unpleasant cloisters? Give mo the keys and let me try 
them.' 

Ketch, in sheer helplessness, was fain to comply. He resigned! 
tho keys to Jenkins, and Jenkins tried them : but he was none tho 
nearer unlocking the gate. In their increasing perplexity, they] 
resolved to return to the place in the quadrangle where the keysj 
had fallen — a very forlorn suggestion proceeding from Mr. Jenkins] 
that the right keys might be lying there still, and that this rusty! 
pair might, by some curious and unaccountable chance, have beenj 
lying there also. 

They commenced their search, disputing, the one hotly, the] 
other temperately, as to which was the exact spot. "With feet and 
hands they hunted as well as the dark would allow them: all inj 
vain ; and Ketch gave vent to a loud burst of feeling when hel 
realized the fact, that they were positively locked up in thoj 
cloisters, beyond hope of succour, in the dark and lonely night. 



CHAPTEE XII. 

A MISHAP TO THE BISHOP OF HELSTONLEIGH. 

* FoRDHAM, I wonder whether the cloisters are closed ?' 

* I will see, my lord.' 

The question came from the Bishop of Helstonleigh; who, as it 
fell out, had been to make an evening call upon the dean. Tiio 
dean's servant was now conducting his lordship down the grand 



THE CHANNINGS. 87 

staircase, on his departure. In proceeding to the palace from 
the deanery, to go through the cloisters cut off quite two-thirds 
of the distance. 

Fordham quitted the hall, a lamp in his hand, and traversed 
sundry passages which brought him to the deanery garden. 
Crossing the garden, and treading another short passage, he came 
to the cloisters. The bishop had followed, lighted by Fordham, 
and talking affably. A very pleasant man was the Bishop of 
Helstonleigh, standing little upon forms and ceremonies. In 
frame he was nearly as active as a college boy. 

' It is all right, I think, my lord,' said Fordham. * I hear the 
porter's voice now in the cloisters.' 

'How dark it is !' exclaimed the bishop. * Ketch must bo 
closing late to-night. What a noise he is making ! ' 

In point of fact, Mr. Ketch had just arrived at that agreeable 
moment which concluded the last chapter — the conviction that 
no other keys were to be found, and that he and Jenkins were 
fast. The tone in which he was making his sentiments known 
upon the calamity, was not a subdued one. 

* Shall I light you round, my lord 1 ' 

' By no means — by no means. I shall be up with Ketch in a 
minute. He seems in a passion. Good night, Fordham.' 

' Good night to your lordship.' 

The servant went back to the deanery. The prelate groped 
his way round to the west quadrangle. 

* Are you closing, Ketch 'i ' 

Mr. Ketch started as if he had been shot, and his noise dropt 
to a calm. Truth to say, his style of complaint had not been or- 
thodox, not exactly suitable to the ears of his bishop. He and 
Jenkins both recognized the voice, and bowed low, dark though 
it was. 

* What is the matter. Ketch 1 You are making enough noise.' 
' Matter, my lord ! ' groaned Ketch. * Here's matter enough 

to make a saint — saving your lordship's presence — forget his 
prayers. We be locked up in the cloisters.' 

' Locked up ! ' repeated the bishop. ' What do you mean 1 
Who is with you 1 ' 

' It is me, my lord,' said Jenkins meekly, answering for him- 
self ; ' Joseph Jenkins, my lord, at Mr. Galloway's. I came in 
with the porter just for company, my lord, when he came to lock 
np, and we have somehow got locked in.' 

The bishop demanded an explanation. It was not very easily 



88 THE CHANNINGS. 

nftbrded. Ketch and Jenkins talked one against the other, and 
when the bishop did at length get to comprehend the tale, he 
scarcely gave credence to it. 

* It is an incomprehensible story, Ketch, that you should drop 
your keys, and they should get changed for others as they lay on 
the flags. Are you sure you brought out the right keys 7 

' My lord, I couldn't bring out any others,' returned Ketch, in a 
tone that longed to betray its resentment, and would have betrayed 
it to anybody but a bishop. ' I haven't got no others to bring, v*iy 
lord. Them two keys hangs up on the nail always, and there aint 
another key besides in the house, save the door key.' 

* Some one must have changed them previously — must have hung 
up these in their places,' remarked the bishop. 

* But, my lord, it couldn't be, I say,' reiterated old Ketch, nearly 
shrieking. * I know the keys just as avcII as I know my own hands, 
and they was the right keys that I brought out. The best proof, 
my lord, is, that I locked the south door fast enough ; and how 
could I have done that with these wretched old rusty things?' 

* The keys must be on the flags still,' said his lordship. 

* That is the only conclusion 1 can come to, my lord,' mildly put 
in Jenkins. * But we cannot find them.' 

* And meanwhile we are locked in for the night, and here's his 
right reverend lordship, the bishop, locked in with us !' danced old 
Ketch, nearly beside himself with anger. ' Of course, it wouldn't 
matter for me and Jenkins : speaking in comparison, we are 
nobody ; but it is a shameful indignity for my lord.' 

' We must try and get out, Ketch,' said his lordship, in a tone 
that sounded as if he were more inclined to laugh than cry. ' I 
will go back to the deanery.' 

Away went the bishop as quickly as the gloom allowed him, and 
away went the other two in his wake. Arrived at the passage 
which led from the cloisters to the deanery garden they groped their 
way to its end — only to find the door closed and locked. 

' Well this is a pleasant situation !' exclaimed the bishop, his tone 
betraying amusement as well as annoyance ; and with his own 
prelatical hands he pummelled at the door, and shouted with his 
own prelatical voice. When the bishop was tired, Jenkins and 
Ketch set on to pummel and to shout, and they pummelled and 
shouted till their knuckles were sore nnd their throats were hoarse. 
It was all in vain. The garden intervened between them and the 
deanery, and they could not be he*^rd. 

It certainly was a pretty situation, as the prelate remai-kcd. 



TUE CHANNINGS. 89 

The Eight Keverend the Bishop of Helstonleigh, ranking about 
fifth, counting by precedence, on the episcopal bench, locked up 
ignominiously in the cloisters of Helstonleigh, with Ketch the 
porter, and Jenkins tlie steward's clerk ; likely, so far as appear- 
ances might be trusted, to have to pass the night there ! The like 
had never yet been heard of. 

The bishop went to the south gate, and tried the keys himself: 
the bishop went to the west gate and tried them there ; the bishop 
stamped about the west quadrangle, hoping to stamp upon the 
missing keys; but nothing came of it. Ketch and Jenkins 
attended him— Ketch grumbling in the most angry terms that ho 
dared, Jenkins in humble silence. 

' I really do not sec what is to be done,' debated the bishop, who, 
no doubt, wished himself well out of the dilemma, like any less 
exalted mortal would have done. 'The doors leading into the 
college are sure to be closed.' 

' Quite sure,' groaned Ketch. 

'And to get into the college would not serve us, tkat I see,' 
added the bishop. ' Wo should be no better oif there than here.' 

' Saving that we might ring the bell, my lord,' suggested Jenkins, 
with deference. 

They proceeded to the college gates. It was a forlorn hope, and 
one that did not serve them. The gates were locked, the doors 
closed behind them. No getting to the bell that way ; it might as 
well have been a hundred miles off. 

They traversed the cloisters again, and tried the door of the 
schoolroom. It was locked. Had it not been, the senior boy 
might have expected , punishment from the head-master. They 
tried the small door leading into the residence of Dr. Burrows — 
fast also ; that abode just now was empty. The folding doors of 
the chapter-house were opened easily, and they entered. But 
what did it avail them ? There was the large, round room lined 
with its books, furnished with its immense table and easy chairs ; 
but it was as much shut iu from the hearing of the world outside 
as they were. The bishop came in contact with a chair, and sat 
down in it. Jenkins, who, as clerk to Mr. Galloway, the steward 
to the dean and chapter, was familiar with the chapter-house, felt 
his way to the spot where he knew matches were sometimes kept. 
He could not find any : it was the time of light evenings. 

' There's just one chance, my lord,' suggested Jenkins. * That 
the little unused door at the corner of the cloisters, leading into 
the body of the cathedral, may not be locked.' 



90 THE CHANNINGS. 

'Precious careless of them sextons, if it is not !' grunted Ketch. 

' It is a door nobody ever thinks of going in at, my lord/ re- 
turned Jenkins, as if he would apologize for the sextons' care- 
lessness, should it be found unfastened. 'If it is open, we 
might get to the bell.' 

* Them sextons, proud, stuck-up gentlemen, be made up of care- 
lessness and anything else that's bad, they be ! ' groaned Ketch. 
' Holding up their heads above us porters ! ' 

It was worth the trial. The bishop rose from the chair, and 
groped his way out of the chapter-house, the two others following. 

' If it hadn't been for that Jenkins's folly, a-f ancying he saw 
a light in the burying-ground, and me turning round to order 
him to come on, it might not have happened,' grumbled Ketch, 
as they wound round the cloisters. 

* A light in the burial-ground ! ' hastily repeated the bishop. 
* What light r 

* Oh, a corpse-candle, or some nonsense of that sort, he had 
got his mind running on, my lord. Half of the world is idiots, 
and Jenkins is the biggest of 'em.' 

* My lord,' spoke poor Jenkins, deprecatingly, * I never had 
such a thought within me as that it was a *' corpse-candle." I 
said I fancied it might be a glowworm. And I believe it was 
one, my lord.' 

* A more sensible thought than the other,' observed the prelate. 
Luck at last ! The door was found to be unlocked. It was 

a low narrow door, only used on the very rare occasion of a 
funeral, and was situated in a shady out-of-the-way nook, where 
nobody ever thought of looking. ' Oh, come, this is something!' 
cried the bishop, cheerily, as he stepped into the cathedral. 

*And your lordship now sees what fine careless sextons we 
have got ! ' struck in Ketch. 

* We must overlook their carelessness this time, in considera- 
tion of the service it renders us,' said the bishop, in a kindly 
tone. * Take care of the pillars, Ketch.' 

' Thank ye, my lord. I'm a-going along with my hands held 
out afore me, to save my head,' returned Ketch. 

Most likely the bishop and Jenkins were doing the same. 
Dexterously steering clear of the pillars, they emerged in the 
wide, open body of the cathedral, and bent their steps across it 
to the spot where hung the ropes of the bells. 

The head sexton to the cathedral — ^whomyou must not confound 
with a gravedigger, as you might an ordinary sexton ; cathedral 



THE CHANNINGS. 91 

gextons being personages of more importance— was seated about 
this hour at supper in his home, close to the cathedral. Suddenly 
the deep-toned college bell boomed out, and the man started as ii 
a gun had been fired at him. 

* Why, that's the college bell !' he uttered to his family. And 
the family stared with open mouths, replying not. 

The college bell it certainly was, and it was striking out, sharp 
irregular strokes, as though the ringer was not accustomed to 
his work. The sexton started up, in a state of the most amazed 
consternation. 

'It is magic, it is nothing less— that the bell should be ringing 
out at this hour!' exclaimed he. 

* Father,' siiggestcd a juvenile, finding his tongue, * perhaps 
somebody's got locked up in the college.' For which prevision he 
was rewarded with a stinging smack on the head. 

' Take that, sir ! D'ye think I don't know better than to lock 
folks up in the college? It was me, myself, as locked up this 
evening.* 

* No need to box him for that,' resented the wife. * The bell is 
ringing, and I'll be bound the boy's right enough. One of them 
masons must have fell asleep in the day, and has just woke up to 
find himself shut in. Hope he likes his berth !' 

Whatever it might be, ringing the bell, whether magic or a 
mason, of course it must be seen to ; and the sexton hastened out, 
the keys of the cathedral in his hand. He bent his steps towards 
the front entrance, passing the cloisters, which, as he knew, would 
be locked at that hour. * And that bear of a Ketch won't hurry 
himself to unlock them,' soliloquized he. 

He found the front gates surrounded. The bell had struck upon 
the wondering ears of many, living within the precincts of the 
cathedral, who flocked out to ascertain the reason. Amongst 
others, the college boys were coming up in troops. 

' Now, good people, please — by your leave 1' cried the sexton. 
*Let me get to the gates.' 

They made way for the man and his ponderous keys, and the 
ingress to the college was gained. The sexton was beginning a 
sharp reproof to the * mason,' and the crowd preparing a chorus 
to it, when they were seized with consternation, and fell back on 
each other's toes. It was the Eishop of Helstonleigh, in his laced- 
up hat and apron, who walked forth. 

The sexton humbly snatched off his hat ; the college boys raised 
their trenchers. 



92 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Thank you all for coming to the rescue,' said the bishop, in a 
pleasant tone. ' It was not an agreeable situation, to be locked in 
the cathedral.' 

' My lord,' stammered the sexton, in awe-struck dread, as to 
whether he had unwittingly been the culprit, ' how did your lord- 
ship get locked in?' 

* That is what we must inquire into,' replied the bishop. 

The next to hobble out was Ketch. In his own fashion, almost 
ignoring the presence of the bishop, he made known the tale. It 
was received with disbelieving ridicule. The college boys espe- 
cially cast mockery towards it, and began dancing a jig when the 
bishop's back was turned. ' Let a couple of keys drop down, and, 
when picked up, you found them transmogrified into old rusty 
machines, made in the year one !' cried By water. ' ThaVs very 
like a whale, Ketch !' 

Ketch tore ofi" to his lodge, as fast as his lumbago allowed him, 
calling upon the crowd to come and look at the nail where the 
keys always hung, save when in use, and holding out the rusty 
dissemblers for the public view, in a furious passion. 

He dashed open the door. The college boys, pushing before the 
crowd, and following on the bishop's heels — who had probably his 
own reasons for wishing to see the solution of the affair — thronged 
into the lodge. ' There's the nail, my lord, and there ' 

Ketch stopped, dumbfounded. On the nail, hanging by the 
string, as quietly as if they had hung for ages, were the cloister 
keys. Ketch rubbed his eyes, and stared, and nibbed again. The 
bishop smiled. 

* I told you. Ketch, I thought you must be mistaken, in sup- 
posing you brought the proper keys out.' 

Ketch burst into a sobbing wail of ang^r and deprecation. ' He 
had took out the right keys, and Jenkins could bear him out in 
the assertion. Some wicked trick had been played upon him, and 
the keys brought back during his absence and hung up on their 
hook ! He'd lay his life it was the college boys !' 

The bishop turned his eyes on those young gentlemen. But 
nothing could be more innocent than their countenances, as they 
stood before him in their trenchers. Bather too innocent, perhaps ; 
and the bishop's eyes twinkled, and a half-smile crossed his lips ; 
but he made no sign. Well would it be if all the clergy were as 
Bweet-tempered as the Bishop of Helstonleigh ! 

* Well, Ketch, take care of your keys for the future,' was all he 
iaid, as he walked away. ' Good night, boys.' 



I 



T.1E CHANNINOS. 98 

'Good night to your lordship,' replied the boys, once more 
raising'their trencliers; and the crowd, outside, respectfully saluted 
their prelate, who returned it in kind. 

' What are you waiting for, Thorpe ?' the bishop demanded, 
when he found the sexton was still at the great gates holding them 
about an inch open. 

'For Jenkins, my lord,' was the reply. * Ketch said he was 
also locked in.' 

* Certainly he was,' replied the bishop. * Has he not come 
forth?' 

' That he has not, my lord. I have let nobody whatever out 
except your lordship and the porter. I have called out to him, 
but he does not answer, and does not come.' 

' He went up into the organ-loft in search of a candle and 
matches,' remarked the bishop. *You had better go after him, 
Thorpe. He may not know that the doors are open.' 

The bishop left, crossing over to the palace. Thorpe, calling 
one of the old bedesmen, some of whom had come up then, left 
him in charge of the gate, and did as he was ordered. He de- 
scended the steps, passed through the wide doors, and gi'oped his 
way in the dark towards the choir. 

' Jenkins !' 

There was no answer. 

* Jenkins !' called out he again. 

Still there was no answer : save the sound of the sexton's own 
voice as it echoed in the silence of the large edifice. 

' Well, this is a odd go !' exclaimed Thorpe, as he leaned against 
a pillar and surveyed the darkness of the cathedral. * He can't 
liavc melted away into a ghost, or dropped down into the crypt 
among the coffins. Jenkins, I say !' 

With a word of impatience at the continued silence, the sexton 
returned to the entrance gates. All that could be done was, to get 
a light and search for him. 

They procured a lantern, Ketch ungraciously supplying it ; and 
the sexton, taking two or three of the spectators with him, pro- 
ceeded to the search. ' He has gone to sleep in the organ-loft, 
that is what he has done,' cried Thorpe, making known what tlio 
bishop had said. 

Alas ! Jenkins had not gone to sleep. At the foot of the steps, 
leading to the organ-loft, they came upon him. He was lying 
there insensible, blood oozing from a wound on the forehead. How 
had it come about ? What had caused it ? 



94 THE CHANNINGS. 

Meanwhile, the college boys, after driving Mr. Ketch nearly wild 
with their jokes and ridicule touching the mystery of the keys 
were scared by the sudden appearance of the head-master. They 
decamped as fast as their legs could carry them, bringing them- 
selves to an anchor at a safe distance, under shade of the friendly 
elm-trees. Bywater stuck his back against one, and his laughter 
came forth in peals. Some of the rest tried to stop it, whispering 
caution. 

' It's of no good talking, you fellows ! I can't keep it in ; I shall 
burst if I try. I have been at bursting point ever since I twitched 
the keyo out of his hands in the cloisters, and threw the rusty ones 
down. You see I was right — that it was best for one of us to go 
in without our boots, and to wait. If half a dozen had gone, we 
should never have got away unheard.' 

* I pretty nearly burst when I saw the bishop come out, instead 
of Jietch,' cried Tod Yorke. ' Burst with fright.' 

* So did a few more of us,' said Galloway. ' I say, will there be 
a row ?' 

* Goodness knows ! He is a kind old chap, is the bishop. Better 
for it to have been him than the dean.' 

* What was it Ketch said, about Jenkins seeing a glowworm ?' 
*0h!' shrieked By water, holding his sides, 'that was the bee 

of all ! I had got a lucifer out of my pocket, playing with it, whil< 
they went round to the south gate, and it suddenly struck firej 
I threw it over to the burial-ground : and that soft Jenkins took if 
fbr a glowworm.' 

* It's a stunning go I' emphatically concluded Mr. Tod York( 

* The best we have had this half, yet.' 

* Hush— sh — sh — sh !' whispered the boys under their breat 

* There goes the master.' 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

MAD NANCE. 

Mr. Galloway was in his office. Mr. Galloway was fuming and 
fretting at the non-arrival of his clerk, Mr. Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins 
was a punctual man ; in fact, more than punctual : his proper time 
for arriving at the office was half-past nine ; but the cathedral 
clock had rarely struck the quarter-past before Mr. Jenkins would 
be at his post. Things seem to go by contrary in this world: 
almost any other morning it would not have mattered a sirtx^r in 



THE CHANNING8, 95 

Jlr. Galloway whether Jenkins was a little after or a little before 
his time ; but on this particular morning he had especial need of 
him, and had come himself to the office unusually early. 

One-two, three-four ! chimed the quarters of the cathedral. 

* There it goes — half-past nine !' ejaculated Mr. Galloway. ' What 
does, Jenkins mean by it ? he laiew he was wanted early.' 

A sharp knock at the office door, and there entered a little dark 
woman, in a black bonnet and a beard. She was Mr. Jenkins's 
better half, and had the reputation for being very considerably 
the grey mare. 

* Good morning, Mr. Galloway. A pretty kettle of fish, this is !' 

* What's the matter now ?' asked Mr. Galloway, surprised at the 
address. * Where's Jenkins ?' 

' Jenkins is in bed with his head plastered up. He's the gi-eatcst 
booby living, and would positively have come here all the same, 
but I told him I'd strap him down with cords if he attempted it. 
A pretty object he'd have looked, staggering through the streets, 
with his head big enough for two, and held together with white- 
plaster !' 

What has he done to his head ?' wondered Mr. Galloway. 

'Good gracious! have you not heard?* exclaimed the lady, 
whose mode of speech was rarely overburdened with jDolite words 
of compliment, though she meant no disrespect. * He got locked 
up in the cloisters last night with old Ketch and the bishop.' 

Mr. Galloway stared at her. He had been dining, the previous 
evening, with some friends at the other end of the town, and Imew 
nothing of the occurrence. Had he been within hearing when the 
college bell tolled out at night, he would have run to ascertain the 
cause as eagerly as any schoolboy. * Locked up in the cloisters 
with old Ketch and the bishop !' he repeated in amazement. * I do 
not understand.' 

Mrs. Jenkins proceeded to enlighten him. She gave the expla- 
nation of the strange affair of the keys, as it had been given to her 
by the unlucky Joo. While telling it Arthur Channing entered, 
and, almost immediately afterwards, Eoland Yorke. 

The bishop, of all people !' uttered Mr. Galloway. 'What an 
untoward thing for his lordship !' 

* No more untowai'd for him than for others,' retorted tbo kdv. 

* It just serves Jenkins right. What business had he to go dancing 
tlirough the cloisters with old Ketch and his keys ?' 

* But how did Jenkins get hui-t V asked Mr. Galloway, for that 
particular point had not ,vct been touched upon. 



% 



THE CHANNINGS. 



* He is the greatest fool going, is Jenkins,' was the complinienta.7 
retort of Jenkins's wife. ' After he had helped to ring out the 
bell, he must needs go poking and groping into the organ-loft, 
hunting for matches or some such insane rubbish. He might have 
known, had he possessed any sense, that candles and matches are 
not likely to be there in summer-time ! Why, if the organist 
wanted ever so much to stop in after dark, when the college is 
locked up for the night, he wouldn't be allowed to do it ! It's 
only in winter, when he has to light a candle to get through the 
afternoon service that they keep matches and dips up there.' 

' But about his head ?' repeated Mr. Galloway, who was aware 
of the natural propensity of Mrs. Jenkins to wander from the point 
in discussion. 

* Yes about his head !' she wrathfully answered. * In attempting 
to descend the stairs again, he missed his footing, and pitched right 
down to the bottom of the flight. That's how his head came in for 
it. He wants a nurse with him always, does Jenkins, for he is no 
better than a child in leading strings.' 

* Is he much hurt ?' 
*And there he'd have lain till morning, but for the bishop,*! 

resumed Mrs. Jenkins, paying no attention to the inquiry. ' After 
his lordship got out, he, finding Jenkins did not come, told Thorpe 
to go and look for him in the organ-loft. Thorpe said he should 
have done nothing of the sort but for the bishop's order ; he was 
just going to lock the great doors again, and there Jenkins would 
have been fast ! They found him lying at the foot of the stairs, 
just inside the choir gates, with no more life in him than there isj 
in a dead man.' 
' I asked you whether he is seriously hurt, Mrs. Jenkins.' 
'Pretty well. He came to his senses as they were bringing him 
home, and somebody ran for Hurst, the surgeon. He is better 
this morning.' 

* But not well enough to come to business ?' 

* Hurst told him if he worried himself with business, or anything 
else to-day, he'd get brain fever as sure as a gun. He ordered him 
to stop in bed and keep quiet, if he could.' 

' Of course he must do so,' observed Mr. Galloway. 

* There is no of course in it, when men are the actors,' dissented 
Mrs. Jenkins. ' Hurst did well to say "if he could," when order- 
ing him to keep quiet. I'd rather have an animal ill in the house; j 
than I'd have a man — they are ten times more reasonable. There] 
bas Jenkins been, tormenting hioaself ever since seven o'clock thii 



THE CHANNDJGS. 97 

morning about coming here ; ho was wanted particularly, he said. 
*' Would you go if you were dead?" I asked him; and he stood it 
out that if he were dead it would be a different thing. "Not dif- 
ferent at all," I said. A nice thing it would be, to have to nurse 
him through a brain fever !' 

' I am grieved that it should have happened,' said Mr. Galloway, 
kindly. ' Tell him from me, that we can manage very well with- 
out him. He must not venture here again, until Mr. Hurst says 
he may come with safety.' 

' I should have told him that, to pacify him, whether you had said 
it or not,' candidly avowed Mrs. Jenkins. 'And now I must go 
back home on the run. As good have no one to mind my shop 
as that young house-girl of ours. If a customer comes in for a 
pair of black stockings, she'll take and give 'em a white knitted 
nightcap. She's as deficient of common sense as Jenkins is. 
Yom- servant, sir. Good morning, young gentlemen !' 

' Here, wait a minute !' cried Mr. Galloway, as she was speeding 
off. *I cannot comprehend it at all. The keys could not have 
been changed as they lay on the flags.' 

' Neither can anybody else comprehend it,' returned Mrs. 
Jenkins. ' If Jenkins was not a sober man — and he had better let 
me catch him being anything else ! — I should say the two, him and 
Ketch, had had a drop too much. The bishop himself could make 
neither top nor tail of it. It'll teach Jenkins not to go gallavanting 
again after other folk's business !' 

She finally turned away, and Mr. Galloway set himself to revolve 
the perplexing narrative. The more ho thought, the less he was 
nearer doing so ; like th.e bishop, he could make neither top nor 
tail of it. ' It is entirely incredible 1' ho remarked to Arthur 
Channing, ' unless Ketch took out the wrong keys !' 

' And if he took out the wrong keys, how could he have locked 
the south door?' interrupted Eoland Yorke. 'I'd lay anybody 
five shillings that those mischievous scamps of college boys were 
at the bottom of it ; I taxed Gerald with it, and he flew at me 
for my pains. But the seniors may not have been in it. You 
sliould have heard the bell clank out last night, Mr. Galloway !' 

' I suppose it brought out a few,' was Mr Galloway's rejoinder. 

' It did that,' said Arthur Channing. ' M;r«5elf for one. When I 
saw the bishop emerge from the college doors, I could scarcely 
believe my sight.' 

* I'd have given half-a-crown to see him !' cried Eoland Torke, 
* If there's any fun going on, it is sure to be my fate to miss it * 

£ 



98 THE CHANNINGS. 

Cator was at my house, having a cigar with me ; and, though 
we heard the bell, we did not disturb ourselves to see what it 
might mean.' 

' What is your opinion of last night's work, Arthur ?' aska! 
Mr. Galloway, returning to the point. 

Arthur's opinion was a very decided one, but he did not choose 
to say so. The meeting with the college boys at their stealthy 
post in the cloisters, when he and Hamish were passing through 
at dusk, a few nights previously, coupled with the hints then 
thrown out of the ' serving out ' of Ketch, could leave little doubt 
as to the culprits. Arthur returned an answer, couched in general 
terms. 

' Could it have been the college boys, think you T debated Mr. 
Galloway. 

' Not being a college boy I cannot speak positively, sir,' he said, 
laughing. jaunt knows nothing of it. I met him as I was going 
home to breakfast from my early hour's work here, and he told me 
he did not. There would have been no harm done, after all, but 
for the accident to Jenkins.' 

* One of you gentlemen can just step in to see Jenkins in the 
course of the day, and reassure him that he is not wanted,' said 
Mr. Galloway. *I know how necessary it is to keep the mind 
tranquil, in any fear of brain affection.' 

No more was said, and the occupation of the day began. A 
busy day was that at Mr. Galloway's, much to the chagrin of 
Roland Yorke, who had an unconquerable objection to doing too 
much. He broke out into grumblings at Arthur, when the latter 
came running in from his duty at college. 

* I'll tell you what it is, Channing ; you ought not to have made 
the bargain to go to that bothering organ on busy days; and 
Galloway must have been out of his mind to let you make it. 
Look at the heap of work there is to do !' 

*I will soon make up for the lost hour,' said Arthur, setting 
to with a will. ' Where's Mr. Galloway ?' 

'Gone to the bank,' grumbled Eoland. 'And I have had to 
answer a dozen callers-in at least, and do all my writing besides, 
I wonder what possessed Jenkins to eo and knock his head to 
powder ?' 

Mr. Galloway shortly returned, and sat dowii to write. It was 
a thing he rarely did ; he left writing to his clerks, unless it was 
the writing of letters. By one o'clock the chief portion of the 
work was done, and Mr. Boland Yorke's spirits recovered their 



THE CHANNINGS. 99 

C'lasticity. He went homo then to dinner, as usual. Arthur 
preferred to remain at his post, and get on further, sending the 
housekeeper's little maid out for a twopenny roll, which he de- 
voured as he wrote. Ho was of a remarkably conscientious nature, 
and deemed it only fair to sacrifice a little time in case of need, in 
return for the great favour which had been granted him by ^Ir. 
Galloway. Many of the families who had sons in the college 
school dined at one o'clock, it being the most convenient hour for 
the boys. Hearty, growing youths are not satisfied with anything 
less substantial than a dinner in the middle of the day, and two 
dinners in a household tell upon the pocket. The Channings did 
not afford two, neither did Lady Augusta Yorke ; so their hour 
was one o'clock. 

' What a muff you must be, to go without your dinner !' cried 
Tioland Yorke to Arthur, when he returned at two o'clock. *i 
wouldn't.' 

* I have had my dinner,' said Arthur. 

* What did you have V cried Eoland, pricking up his ears. * Did 
Galloway send to the eating-house for roast ducks and green peas? 
That's what we had at home, and the peas were half boiled, and 
the ducks were scorched, and cooked without stuffing. A wretched 
set of incapables our house turns out ! and my lady does not know 
how to alter it. You have actually finished that deed, Channirig ?' 

' It is finished, you see. It is surprising how much one can do 
in a quiet hour!' 

* Is Galloway out ?' 

Arthur pointed with his pen to the door of Mr. Galloway's 
private room, to indicate that he was in it. * He is writing letters. 

' I say, Channing, there's positively nothing left to do,' went on 
Eoland, casting his eyes over the desk. * Here are these leases, 
but they are not wanted until to-morrow. Who says we can't 
work in this office ?' 

Arthur laughed good-naturedly, to think of the small amount, 
out of that day's work, which had fallen to the share of Eoland. 

Some time elapsed. Mr. Galloway came into their room from 
his own to consult a * Bradshaw,' which lay on the shelf, alongside 
Jenkins's desk. He held in his hand a very closely-written letter. 
It was of large, letter-paper size, and appeared to be filled on its 
four sides. While he was looking at the book, the cathedral clock 
chimed out the three quarters past two, and the bell rang out for 
divine service. 

* It can never be that time of day !' exclaimed Mr. Galloway, in 

H 2 



100 THE CHANNINGS. 

consternation, as be took out his watch. 'Sixteen minutes to 
three ! and I am a minute slow ! How has the time passed ? I 

ought to have been at ' 

Mr. Galloway brought his words to a stand-still, apparently toe 
absorbed in the railway-guide to conclude them. Eoland Yorke, 
v/ho had a free tongue, even with his master, filled up the pause. 

* Were you going out, sir ?\ 

* Is that any business of yours, Mr. Eoland ? Talking won't fill 
in that lease, sir.' 

* The lease is not in a hurry, sir,' returned incorrigible Eoland, 
Uut he held his tongue then, and bent his head over his work. 

Mr. Galloway dipped his pen in the ink, and copied something 
from 'Bradshaw ' into the closely-written letter, standing at Jenkins's 
desk to do it ; then he passed the blotting-paper quickly over the 
words, and folded the letter. 

' Channing,' he said, speaking very hastily, * you will see a £20 
bank-note on my desk, and the directed envelope of this letter ; 
bring them here.' 

Arthur went, and brought forth the envelope and bank-note 
Mr. Galloway doubled the note in four and slipped it between the 
folds of the letter, putting both in the envelope. He had fastened 
it down, when a loud noise and commotion was heard in the 
street. Curious as are said to be antiquated maidens, Mr. Galloway 
rushed to the window and threw it up, his two clerks attending in 
his wake. 

Something very fine, in a white dress, and pink and scarlet 
flowers in her bonnetless head, as if attired for an evening party, 
was whirling round the middle of the road in circles : a tall woman, 
who must have been beautiful once. She appeared to be whirling 
somebody else with her, amid laughter and shrieks, and cries and 
groans, of the whirlers and the gathering mob. 

' It is Mad Nance !' uttered Mr. Galloway. * Poor thing ! sho 
really ought to be in confinement.' 

So everybody had said for a long while, but nobody bestiiTcd 
themselves to place her in it. This unfortunate creature, Mad 
Nance, as she was called, was sufficiently harmless to be at largo 
on sufi'erance, and sufficiently mad at times to put a street in an 
uproar. In her least sane moments she would appear, as now, in 
an old dimity white dress, scrupulously washed and ironed, and 
decorated with innumerable frills ; some natural flowers, generally 
wild ones, in her hair. Dandelions were her favourites ; slie would 
make them into a wreath, and fasten it on, letting her entangled 



J 



THE CHANNINGS. 101 

hair hang beneath. To-day she had contrived to pick up somo 
^cranium blossoms, scarlet and pink, 

' Who is it that she has got hold of there ?' exclaimed Mr 
Galbway ' He does not seem to like it.' 

Arthur burst into laughter as loud as the woman's when he 
discovered that it was Harper, the lay clerk. This unlucky gentle- 
man, who had been quietly and inoffensively proceeding up Close 
Street on his way to service in the cathedral, was seized upon by 
Mad Nance by the two hands. He was a thin, weak little man, a 
very reed in her strong hands. She shrieked, she laughed, she 
danced, she flew with him round and round. He shrieked also ; 
his hat was off, his wig was gone ; and it was half the business of 
Mr. Harper's life to make that wig appear a real one. Ho talked, 
ho raved, he remonstrated ; I am very much afraid he swore. Mr. 
Galloway laughed till the tears ran down his cheeks. 

The crowd was parted by an authoritative hand, and the same 
hand, gentle now, laid its firmness upon the woman and released 
the prisoner. It was Hamish Channing who had come to the 
rescue, suppressing his mirth as he best could while he effected it. 

'I'll have the law of her!' panted Harper, as he picked up his 
hat and wig. ' If there 's justice to be got in Helstonleigh she 
shall suffer for this ! It's a town's shame to let her go about, 
molesting peaceable wayfarers, and shaking the life out of them !' 

Something at a distance appeared to attract the attention of the 
unhappy woman, and she flew away. Hamish and Mr. Harper 
were left alone in the street, the latter still exploding with wrath, 
and vowing all sorts of revenge. 

' Put up with it quietly, Harper,' advised Hamish. ' She is like 
a little child, not accountable for her actions.' 

' That's just like you, Mr. Hamish Channing. If they took your 
head off, you'd put up with it 1 How would you like your wig 
flung away in the sight of a whole street ?' 

' I don't wear one,' answered Hamish, laughing. * Here's your 
liat ; not much damaged, apparently.' 

Mr. Harper, settling his wig on his head, and composing himself 
as he best could, continued his way to the cathedral, turning his 
hat about in his hand, and closely regarding it. Hamish stepped 
across to Mr. Galloway's, meeting that gentleman at the door. 

* A good thing you came up as you did, Mr. Hamish. Harper 
will remember Mad Nance for a year to come.' 

* I expect he will,' replied Hamish, laughing still. Mr. Gallowaj 
laugl ed also, and walked hastily down the street. 



102 THE CHANNIUaS. 



CHAPTEB XIV. 

KEEPKsG OI-FICE. 

Hamisii entered tlic office. Arthur and Eoland Yorko had thcii 
heads stretched out of the window, and did not hear his footsteps. 
He advanced quietly and brought his hands down hastily upon the 
shoulder of each. Eoland started, and gave his head a knock 
against the window-frame. 

' How you startle a fellow ! I thouglit it was Mad Nance como 
in to seize hold of me.' 

*She has seized hold of enough for one day,' said Hamish. 
' Harper will dream of her to-night.' 

' I thought Galloway would have gone into a fit, ho laughed so,' 
cried Arthur. ' As for my sides, they'll ache for an hour.' 

Eoland Yorke's lip curled with an angry expression. * My 
opinion coincides with Harper's,' he said. 'I think Mad Nance 
ought to bo punished. We are none of us safe from her if this is to 
bo the game.' 

' If you punish her to-day, she would do the same again to- 
morrow, were the fit to come over her,' rejoined Hamish. ' It is 
not often sho breaks out like this. The only thing is to steer clear 
of her.' 

* Hamish has a fellow feeling for that Mad Nance,' mockingly 
spoke Eoland Yorke. 

' Yes, poor thing ! for her story is a sad one. If the same 
grievous wrong were worked upon some of us, perhaps we might 
go and take to dancing for the benefit of the public. Talking of 
the public, Arthur,' continued Hamish, turning to his brother, 
* what became of you at dinner-time ? The mother was for setting 
the town-crier to work.' 

' I could not get home to-day. "We have had double work to do, 
as Jenkins is away.' 

Hamish tilted himself on to the edge of Mr. Jenkins's desk, and 
took up the letter, apparently in abstraction, which Mr. Galloway 
had left there, ready for the post. *Mr. Eobert Galloway, Sea 
view Terrace, Yentnor, Isle of Wight,' read he aloud. ' That must 
be Mr. Galloway's cousin,' he remarked : ' the one who has got 
through so much money.' 



THE CHAKNINGS. 1C3 

*0f course it is,' answered Eoland Yorke. 'Galloway pretty 
near keeps bim : I know there's a £20 bank-note going to him in 
that letter. Catch me doing it if I were Galloway !' 

*I wish it was going into my pocket instead,' said Ilamish, 
balancing the letter on his fingers, as if he wished to test its 
weight. 

'I wish the clouds would drop sovereigns! But they don't 
any the quicker for my wishing it,' said Eoland Yorke. 

Hamish put the letter back from whence he had taken it, and 
jumped off the desk. ' I must be walking,' said he. * Stopping here 
will not do my work. If we ' 

* By Jovo ! there's Knivett !' uttered Eoland Yorke. ' Where a 
he off to, so fast ? I have something that I must tell him. 

Snatching up his hat, Eoland darted at full speed out of the office, 
in search of one who was running at full speed also down the street. 
Hamish looked out, amused, at the chase ; Arthur, who had called 
after Eoland in vain, seemed vexed. ' Knivett is one of the fleetest 
ninners in Helstonleigh,' said Hamish. * Yorke will scarcely catch 
him up.' 

' I wish Yorke would allow himself a little thought, and not act 
upon impulse,' exclaimed Arthur. * I cannot stop three minutes 
longer : and he knows that ! I shall be late for college.' 

He was already preparing to go thither. Putting some papers in 
order upon his desk, and locking up others, he carried the letter for 
Ventnor into Mr. Galloway's private room and put it into tho 
letter rack. Two others, ready for the post, were lying there. 
Then he went to the front door to look out for Yorke. Yorke was 
not to be seen. 

' What a thoughtless fellow he is !' exclaimed Arthur in his 
vexation. ' What is to be done ? Hamish, you will have to st o} ) 
here.' 

' Thank you ! what else ?' asked Hamish. 

' I must be at college, whatever betide.' Which was true ; yet 
neither might the office be left vacant. Arthur grew a little 
flurried. ' Do stay, Hamish : it will not hinder you five minutes, 
I dare say. Yorke is sure to be in.' 

Hamish came to the door halting on its first step, and looking 
out over Arthur's shoulder. He drew his head in again with a 
sudden movement. 

' Is not that old Hopper down there ?' he asked below his breath, 
the tone sounding like one of fear. 

Arthur turned his eyes on a shabby old man who was crossing 



101 THE CHANNINGS. 

the end of the street, and saw Hopper, the sheriS's oflBccr. * Yes, 
why ?' 

* It is that old fellow who holds the writ. He may be on the 
watch for me now. I can't go out just yet, Arthur ; I'll stay here 
till Yorke comes back.* 

He returned to the ofl&ce, sat down and leaned his brow upon 
his hand. A strange brow of care it was just then, ill according 
with the gay face of Hamish Channing. Arthur, waiting for no 
second permission, flew towards the cathedral as fast as his long 
legs would carry him. The dean and chapter were preparing 
to leave the chapter-house as he tore past it, through the cloisters 
Three o'clock was striking. Arthur's heart and breath were alike 
panting when he gained the dark stairs. At that moment, to his 
excessive astonishment, the organ began to peal forth. 

Seated at it was Mr. Williams ; and a few words of explanation 
ensued. The organist said he should remain for the service, which 
rendered Arthur at liberty to go back again. 

He was retracing his steps underneath the elm-trees in the 
Boundaries at a less swift pace than he had recently passed them, 
when, in turning a comer, he came face to face with tlie sheriflTs 
officer. Arthur, whose thoughts were at that moment fixed upon 
Hamish and his difficulties, started away from the man, in an im 
pulse for which he could not have accounted. 

' No need for you to be frightened of me, Mr. Artliur,' said tho 
man, who, in his more palmy days, before he learnt to take more 
prink than was good for him, had been a clerk in Mr. Channing' s 
office. ' I have got nothing about me that will bite you. 

He laid a stress upon the ' you ' in both cases. Arthur under- 
stood only too well what was meant, though he would not appear 
to do so. 

* Nor anybody else, either, I hope, Hopper. A warm day, is it not ?* 
Hopper drew close to Arthur, not looking at him, apparently 

examining with hands and eyes the trunk of the elm-tree under- 
neath which they had halted. ' You tell your brother not to put 
himself in my way,' said he in a low tone, his lips scarcely moving, 
* He is in a bit of trouble, as I suppose you know.' 

' Yes,' breathed Arthur. 

' Well, I don't want to serve the writ upon him ; 1 won't serve i" 
unless he makes me, by throwing himself within length of my arm 
If he sees me coming up one street let him cut down another ; into 
a shop ; anywhere ; I have got eyes that only see when I want 
cm to. I come prowling about here once or twice a day for 



J 



THE CHANNINGS. 105 

but I come at a time when I am pretty sure he can't be seen ; just 
gone out, or just gone in. I'd rather not harm him,' 

'You are not so considerate to all,' said Arthur, after a pauso 
given to revolving the words, and to wonder whether they were 
spoken in good faith, or with some insidious purpose. Ho could 
not decide. 

' No, I am not,' pointedly returned Hopper in answer. * There 
are some that I look after, sharp as a ferret looks after a rat, but 
I'll never do that by any son of Mr. Channing's. I can't forget the 
old days, sir, when your father was kind to me ; he stood by mo 
longer than my own friends did ; but for him, I should have staiTcd 
in that long illness I had, when the office would have mo no longer. 
Why don't Mr. Hamish settle this ?' he abruptly added. 

'I suppose he cannot,' answered Arthur. 

* It is but a bagatelle at the worst, and our folks would not have 
gone to extremities if he had shown only a disposition to settle. 
I am sure that if he would go to them now, and pay down a £10 note 
and say, "You shall have the rest as I can get it," they'd withdraw 
proceedings ; ay, even for £5 I believe they would. Tell him to 
do it, Mr. Arthur ; tell him I always know which way the wind 
blows with our people.' 

' I will tell him, but I fear he is very short of money just now. 
Five or ten pounds may be as impracticable to find, sometimes, as 
five or ten thousand.' 

' Better find it than he should be locked up,' said Hopper. * How 
would the office get on ? Deprive him of the power of management, 
and it might cost Mr. Channing his place. What use is a man of, 
when he is in prison ? I was in Mr Channing's office for ten years, 
Mr. Arthur, and I know every trick and turn in it, though I have 
left it a good while. And now that I have just said this, I'll go on. 
Mind you tell him.' 

* Thank you,' warmly replied Arthur. 

' And when you have told him, please to forget that you have 
heard it. There's somebody's eyes peering at me over the deanery 
blinds. They may peer! I don't mind them; deaneries don't 
trouble themselves with sheriff^s officers.' 

He glided away, and Arthur went straight to the office. Hamish 
was alone ; he was seated at Jenkins's desk, writing a note. 

' You here still, Hamish ! Where's Yorke ?' 

* Echo answers where,' replied Hamish, who appeared to have 
recovered his full flow of spirits. ' I have seen nothing of hini. 

' That's Yorke all over I it is too bad.' 



106 THE CHANNINGS. 

* It would be, were this a busy afternoon with me, But what 
brings you back, Mr. Arthur ? Have you left the organ to play 
itself?' 

' Williams is taking it ; he heard of Jenkins's accident, and 
thought I might not be able to get away from the office twice 
to-day, so he attended himself.' 

* Come, that's good-natured of Williams ! A bargain's a bargain, 
and having made the bargain, of course it is your own look-out 
mat you fulfil it. Yes, it was considerate of Williams.' 

' Considerate for himself,' said Arthur. ' He did not come down 
to give me holiday, but in the fear lest Mr. Galloway should 
prevent my attending. *' A pretty thing it would have been," he 
said to me, " had there been no organist this afternoon ; it might 
have cost me my place." ' 

' Moonshine !' said Hamish. * It might have cost him a word of 
reprimand ; nothing more.' 

' Helstonleigh's dean is a strict one, remember. I told Williams 
he might always depend upon me.' 

' What should you have done, pray, had I not been here to turn 
oflice-keeper ?' laughed Hamish. 

' Of the two duties I must have obeyed the most important one. 
1 should have locked the office up and given the key to the house- 
keeper till college was over, or till Yorke returned. He deserves 
something for this move. Has any one called ?' 

' No. Arthur, I have been making free with a sheet of paper 
and an envelope,' said Hamish, completing the note he was writing. 
' I suppose I am welcome to it r" 

* To ten, if you want them,' returned Arthur. ' To whom are 
you writing?' 

' A.8 if I should put you au courant of my love-letters !' gaily 
answered Hamish. 

How could Hamish indulge in this careless gaiety with the 
sword hanging over his head ? It was verily a puzzle to Arthur. 
A light, sunny nature was Hamish Channing's. This sobering 
blow which had fallen on it had probably not come before it was 
needed. Had his bark been sailing in waters perpetually smooth, 
ho might have wasted his life, indolently basking on the calm, 
seductive waves. But the storm rose, the -waves ran high, threat- 
ening to engulf him, and Hamish knew that his best energies must 
be put forth to surmount them. Never, never talk of troubles as 
dai'k, unmitigated evils: to the God-fearing, the God-trusting, 
they ai-e fraught with hidden love. 



Jl 



THE CHANKINGS. 107 

* Hamish, were I threatened with evil, as you arc, I could not 
be otherwise than oppressed and serious.' 

' Where would be the use of that ?' cried gay Hamish. * Caro 
killed a cat. Look here, Arthur, you and your grave face ! Did 
you ever know care do a fellow good .? I never did ; but a great 
deal of harm. I shall manage to scramble out of my pit somehow. 
You'll see.' He put the note in his pocket, as ho spoke, and took 
up his hat to depart. 

' Stop an instant longer, Hamish. I have just met Hopper.* 

*Hc did not convert you into a writ-server, I hope. I don't 
think it would be a legal service.' 

' There you are, making joke of it again ! Hamish, he has the 
writ, but he does not wish to serve it. You are to keep out 
of his way, he says, and he will not seek to put liimself in yours. 
My father was kind to him in days gone by, and he remembers 
it now.' 

'He's a regular trump ! Ill send him half-a-crown in a parcel, 
exclaimed Hamish. 

* I wish you would hear me out. He says a £10 note, perhaps a 
£5 note, paid on account, would induce " his people " — I suppose 
you understand the phrase — to stay proceedings, and to give you 
time. He strongly advises it to be done. That's all.' 

Not only all Arthur had to say upon the point, but all he had 
time to say. At that moment the barouche of Lady Augusta 
Yorke drove up to the door, and they both went out to it. Lady 
Augusta, her daughter Fanny, and Constance Channing were in it. 
She was on her way to attend a missionary meeting at the Guild- 
hall, and had come to take up Eoland, that he might escort her 
into the room. 

* Pioland is not to be found. Lady Augusta,' said Hamish, raising 
his hat with one of his sunny smiles. ' He darted off, it is impos- 
sible to say where, thereby making me a prisoner. My brother 
had to attend the cathedral, and there was nobody to keep office.' 

'Then I think I must make a prisoner of you in turn, Mr. 
Hamish Channing,' graciously said Lady Augusta. * Will you 
accompany us ?' 

Hamish shook his head. ' I wish I could ; but I have already 
wasted more time than I ought to have done.' 

' It will not cost you five minutes more,' urged Lady Augusta. 
' You shall only just take us into the hall ; I will release you then, 
if you must be released. Three ladies never can go in alone- 
fancy how we should get stared at !' 



108 THE CHANNINGS. 

Constance bent her pretty face forward. ' Do, Ilamish, if 
you can !' 

He suffered himself to be persuaded, stepped into the barouche, 
and took his seat by Lady Augusta. As they drove away, Arthur 
thought tlie greatest orpamcnt the carriage contained had been 
added to it in handsome Hamish. 

A full hour Arthur worked on at his deeds and leases, and Yorko 
never returned. Mr. Galloway came in then. ' Where's Yorke V 
was his first question. 

Arthur replied that he did not know ; he had ' stepped out ' 
somewhere. Arthur Channing was not one to make mischief, or 
get another into trouble. Mr. Galloway asked no further; ho 
probably inferred that Yorke had but just gone. He sat down at 
Jenkins's desk, and began to read over a lease. 

* Can I have the stamps, sir, for this deed ?' Arthur presently asked. 
' They are not ready. Are the letters gone to the post ? 

' Not yet, sir.' 

* You can take them now, then. And, Arthur, suppose you stop 
in, as you return, and see how Jenkins is.' 

' Very well, sir.* Ho went into Mr. Galloway's room, and brought 
forth the three letters from the rack. ' Is this one not to bo 
sealed ?' he inquired of Mr. Galloway, indicating the one directed 
to Yentnor, for it was Mr. Galloway's invariable custom to seal 
letters which contained money, after they had been fastened down 
with the gum. ' It is a double surety,' he would say. 

* Ay, to be sure,' replied Mr. Galloway. ' I went off in a hurry 
and did not do it. Bring me the wax.' 

Arthur handed him the sealing-wax and a light. Mr. Galloway 
sealed the letter, stamping it with the seal hanging to his watch- 
chain. He then held out his hand for another of the letters, and 
sealed that. ' And this one, also ?* inquired Arthui-, holding out 
the thisd. 

* No. You can take them now.' 

Arthur departed. A few paces from the door he met Roland 
Yorke, coming along in a white heat. 

' Channing, I could not help it — I could not, upon my honour. 
I had to go somewhere with Knivett, and we were kept till now. 
Galloway's in an awful rage, I suppose ?' 

' He has only just come in. You had no right to play me this 
trick, Yorke. But for Hamish being there, I must have locked up 
the office. Don't you do it again, or Mr. Galloway may get to 
hear of it.' 



m 



THE ^HANNINQS. 103 

*Tt is all owing to that CDnfoundcd Jenkins!' flashed Eoland. 
'Why did he go and get his head smashed? You are a good 
fellow, Arthur. I'll do you a neighbourly turn, some time.' 

He sped into the office, and Arthur walked to the post with the 
letters. Coming back, he turned into Mrs. Jenkins's- shop in th© 
High Street. 

Mrs. Jenkins was behind the counter. ' Oh, go up ! go up and 
see him!' she cried in a tone of suppressed passion. 'His bed- 
room's front, up the two-pair flight, and I'll take my affidavit that 
there have been fifty folks here this day to see him, if there has 
been one. I could sow a peck of peas on the stairs ! You'll find 
other company up there.' 

Arthur groped his way up the stairs; they were dark to his 
sight, coming in from the garish sunshine. Ho found the room 
indicated, and entered. Jenkins lay in his bed, his bandaged head 
upon the pillow ; and, seated by his side, his apron falling, and 
his clerical hat held between his knees, was the IJifehop of 
Helstonleigh. 



CHAPTER XV. 

A SPLASH IN THE RIVER. 



Amongst other received facts, patent to common and uncommon 
sense, is the very obvious one, that a man connot be in two places at 
once. Many a prisoner, accused wrongfully, has made clear his 
innocence and saved his life by proving this : if he were in one 
place, he could not have been in another, establishing what is 
called an alibi. In like manner, no author, that I have heard of, 
was able to relate two different portions of his narrative at one and 
the same time. Thus you will readily understand, that if 1 
devoted the last chapter to Mr. Galloway, his clerks and their con- 
cerns generally, it could not be given to Mr. Ketch and Ins 
concerns ; although in the strict order of the time and precedence, 
the latter gentleman might have claimed an equal, if not a premier 
right. 

Mr. Ketch stood in his lodge, his body leaning for support upon 
the shut-up press-bedstead, which, by day, looked like a high 
chest of drawers with brass handles, and his eyes fixed on the keys, 
hanging on the nail opposite to him. His state of mind may be 
best exi)rcssed by the strong epithet, ' savage.' Mr Ketch had not 
a pleasant-looking face at the best of times : it was gi'cen anc? 



110 THE CHANNINGS. 

vvitlierod ; and his small bright eyes were always dropping water ; 
and the two or three locks of hair, which he still possessed, were 
«f faded yellow, and stood out, solitary and stijBf, after the manner 
of those pictures you have seen of heathens who decorate their 
Heads with three upright tails. At this moment his countenance 
looked particularly unpleasant. 

Mr. Ketch had spent, part of the night and the whole of this 
morning revolving the previous evening's affair of the cloisters. 
The more he thought of it, the less he liked it, and the surer grew 
his conviction that the evil had been the work of his enemies, the 
college boys. 

* It's as safe as day,' he wrathfully soliloquized. ' There be the 
right keys,' noddmg to the hanging two, and there be the wrong 
ones,' nodding towards an old knife-tray, into which he had angrily 
thrown the rusty keys, upon entering his lodge the last night, 
accompanied by the crowd. ' They meant to lock me up all night 
in the cloisters, the wicked cannibals ! I hope the dean'U expel 'em ! 
I'll make my complaint to the head-master, I will! Drat all 
college schools ! there's never no good done in 'em !' 

' How are you this morning. Ketch ?' 

The salutation proceeded from Stephen Bywater, who, in tlio 
boisterous manner peculiar to himself and his tribe, had flung open 
the door without the ceremony of knocking. 

'I'm none the better for seeing you,' growled Ketch. 
You need not be uncivil,' returned By^vater, with great suavity. 
* I am only making a morning call upon you, as is the fashion 
among gentlefolks ; the public delights to pay respect to its officials, 
you know. How do you feel after that mishap last night ? "\Vo 
can't think, any of us, however you came to make the mistake.' 

* I'll " mistake " you !' shrieked Ketch. ' I kep' a nasty, old, 
rusty brace o' keys in my lodge to take out, instead o' the right 
ones, didn't I?' 

'How uncommon stupid it was of you to do so !' said Byr^-ater, 
pretending to take the remark literally. ' 1 would not keep a 
duplicate pair of keys by me— I should make sure they'd bring me 
to grief. What do you say ? You did not keep duplicate keys— 
they were false ones ! Why, that's just what we all told you last 
night. The bishop told it you. He said he knew you had made a 
mistake, and taken out the wrong keys for the right. My behef 
is, that you went out without any keys at all. You left them 
hanging upon the nail, and you found them there. You had not 
got a second pair !' 



THE OHANNINGS. Ill 

' You just wait !' raved old Ketch. * I'm a coming round to the 
nead-master, and I'll bring the keys with me. He'll let you boys 
know whether there's two pairs, or one. Horrid old nisty things 
they be ; as rusty as you !' 

' Who says they are rusty ?' 

* Who says it ! They he rusty !' shrieked the old man. ' You'd 
like to get me into a madhouse, you boys would, a-worrying of me ! 
I'll show you whether they bo rusty! I'll show you whether 
there's a second brace o' keys or not. I'll show 'em to the head- 
master I I'll show 'em to the dean ! I'U show 'em again to his 
lordship the bi What's gone of the keys ?' 

The last sentence was uttered in a different tone and in apparent 
perplexity. With shaking hands, excited by passion, Mr. Ketch 
was rummaging in the knife-box — an old, deep tray, of mahogany, 
dark with age, divided by a partition — rummaging for the rusty 
keys. Ho could not find them. He searched on this side, ho 
searched on that ; he pulled out the contents, one by one : a black- 
handled knife, a white-handled fork, a green-handled knife with a 
broken point, and a brown-handled fork with one prong, which 
comprised his household cutlery ; a small whetstone, a comb and a 
blacking-brush, a gimlet and a small hammer, some leather shoe- 
strings, three or four tallow candles, a match-box and an ex- 
tinguisher, the key of his door, the bolt of his casement window, 
and a few other miscellanies. He could not come upon the false 
keys, and, finally, he made a snatch at the tray, and turned it 
upside down. The keys were not there. 

When he had fully taken in the fact— which cost him some little 
time to do — he turned his anger upon Bywater. 

* You have took 'em, you have ! you have turned thief and 
stole 'em ! I i)ut 'cm here in the knife-box, and they are gone ! 
What have you done with 'em .?' 

* Come, that's good !' exclaimed Bywater, in too genuine a tone 
to admit a suspicion of its truth. ' I have not been neai* your 
knife-box ; I have not put my foot inside the door.' 

In pomt of fact, Bywater had not. He had stood outside, bend- 
ing his head and body inwards, his hands grasping either door- 
post. 

'What's gone with 'em? who °° +Aair 'Am off? I'll swear I 
put 'em there, and I have never looked at *em nor touched 'em 
Bince ! There's a infamous conspiracy a-forming again me ! I'm 
argoing to be blowed up, like Guy Fawkes !' 

* If yoTi did put them there — " y/," you know — some of yoiA 



112 THE CHANNINGS. 

friends must have taken them,' cried By^-ater, in a tone mi J way 
between reason and irony. 

' There haven't a soul been a-nigh the place,' shrieked Ketch. 
* Except the milk, and he gave me my ha'porth through tho 
winder.' 

'Hurrah!' said Bywatier, throwing up his trencher. 'It's a 
clear case of dreams. You dreamt you had a second pair of keys, 
Ketch, and couldn't get rid of the impression on awaking. Mr. 
Ketch, D.H., Drearaer-in-chief to Helstonleigh !' 

Bywater commenced a dance of aggravation. Ketch was aggra- 
vated sufficiently without it. ' What d'ye call me ?' he asked, in a| 
state of concentrated temper that turned his face livid. '"Dr^" 
What d'ye mean by " D ?" D stands for that bad sperit as is tool 
near to you college boys ; he's among you always, like a ranging] 
lion. It's like your impedence to call me by his name.* 

' My dear Mr. Ketch ! call you by his name ! I never thought] 
of such a thing,' politely retorted Bywater. ' You are not pro- 
moted to that honour yet. D.H., stands for Deputy Hangman. 
Isn't it affixed to the cathedral roll, kept amid the archives in the '■ 
chapter-house — "John Ketch, D.H., porter to the cloisters!" I, 
hope you don't omit the distinguishing initials when you sign yourj 
letters ?' 

Ketch foamed. Bywater danced. The former could not fmdj 
words. The latter found plenty. 

' I say, though, Mr. Calcraft, don't you make a similar mistake 
when you are going on public duty. If you were to go tliereA 
dreaming you had got the right apparatus, and find, in the last] 
critical moment, that you had brought the WTong, you don't know! 
what the consequences might be. The real victim might escape,] 
rescued by the enraged crowd, and they might put the nightcap] 
upon you, and operate upon you instead! So, be careful. Wo] 
couldn't afford to lose you. Only think, what a lot of money it] 
would cost to put the college into mourning !' 

Ketch gave a great gasp of agony, threw an iron ladle at his^ 
tormentor, which, falling short of its aim, came clanking down on 
the red brick floor, and banged the door in By water's face. Bywater 
withdrew to a short distance, under cover of the cathedral wall, 
and bent his body backwards and forwards with the violence of his 
laughter, unconscious that the Bishop of Helstonleigh was standing 
near, surveying him with an exceedingly amused expression. His 
lordship had been an ear -witness to part of the colloquy, very 
much to his edification. 



THE CHANNINGS. 113 

*"What is your mirth, By water?' 

Bywatcr drew himself straight, and turned round as if he had 
been shot. ' I was only laughing, my lord,' he said, touching his 
trencher. 

* I see you were ; you will lose your breath entirely some day, if 
you laugh in that violent manner. What were you and Ketch 
quarrelling about ?' 

* We were not quarrelling, my lord. I was only chaff— teasing 
him,' rejoined Bywater, substituting one word for another, as if 
fearing the first might not altogether be suitable to the bishop's 
ears, ' and Ketch got into a passion.' 

* As he often docs, I fear,' remarked his lordship. *I fancy you 
boys provoke him unjustifiably.' 

' My lord,' said Bywater, turning his red, impudent, but honest 
face full upon the prelate, ' I don't deny that we do provoke him ; 
but you can have no idea what an awful tyrant he is to us. I can't 
believe anybody was ever born with sucii a cross-grained temper. 
He vents it upon everybody : not only upon the college boys, but 
upon all who come in his way. If your lordship were not the 
bishop,' added bold Bywater, ' he would vent it upon you.' 

'Would he?' said the bishop, who was a dear lover of candour, 
and would have excused a whole bushel of mischief, rather than 
one little grain of falsehood. 

'Not a day passes, but he sets upon us with his tongue. Ho 
would keep us out of the cloisters ; he would keep us out of our 
own schoolroom. He goes to the head-master with the most un- 
founded cram — stories, and when the master declines to notice 
them (for he knows Ketch of old), then he goes presumingly to the 
dean. If he let us alone, we should let him alone. I am not 
speaking tliis in the light of a complaint to your lordship,' Bywater 
added, throwing his head back. 'I don't want to get him into a 
row, tyrant though he is ; and the college boys can hold their own 
against Ketch.' 

' I expect they can,' significantly replied the bishop. * He would 
keep you out of the cloisters, would he ?' 

' It is what he is aiming at,' returned Bywater. ' There never 
would liave been a word said about our playing there, but for him. 
I f the dean shuts us out, it will be Ketch's doings. The college 
boys have played in the cloisters since the school was founded.' 

'He would keep you out of the cloisters; so, by way ot re- 
taliation, you lock him in them — an uncomfortable abiding placo 
for a night, Bywater ' 



114 THE CHANNING8. 

' My lord !' cried By water. 

* Sir !' responded his lordship. 

' Does yoar lordship think it was I who played that trick to 
Ketch?' 

'Yes I do — speaking of you conjointly with the school.* 

Bywater's eyes and his good-humoured countenance fell before 
the steady gaze of the prelate. But in the gaze there was an 
earnest — if Bywater could read it aright — of good feeling, of 
excuse for the mischief, rather than of punishment in store. The 
boy's face was red enough at all times, but it turned to scarlet 
now. If the bishop had suspected previously the share played in 
the affair by the college boys, it had by this time been converted 
into a certainty. 

' Boy,' said he, * confess it if you like, be silent if you like ; but 
do not tell me a lie.' 

Bywater rose his face again. His free, fearless eyes — free in the 
cause of daring, but fearless in that of truth — looked straight into 
those of the bishop. ' I never do tell lies,' he answered. ' There's 
not a boy in the school punished oftener then I am ; and I don't 
say but I mostly deserve it ! but it never is for telling a lie. If I 
did tell them, I should slide out of many a scrape that I get 
punished for now.' 

The bishop could read truth as well as anybody — better tlum 
some, and he saw that it was being told to him. ' "SVhich of you 
must be punished for this trick as ringleader?' he asked. 

* I, my lord, if any one must,' frankly avowed Bywater. ' We 
should have let him out at ten o'clock. Wo never meant to keep 
him there all night. If I am punished, I hope your lordship will 
be so kind as allow it to be put down to your own account, not ta 
Ketch's. I should not like it to be thought that I caught it for 
him. I heartily beg your pardon, my lord, for having been so un- 
fortunate as to include you in the locking-up. W' e are all as sorry 
as can be, that it should have happened. I am ready to take any 
punishment, for that, that you may order me.' 

'Ahl' said the bishop, 'had you known that 1 was in the 
cloisters, your friend Ketch would have come off scot free !' 

* Yes, that he would, until ' 

' Until what ?' asked the bishop, for Bywater had brought his 

words to a sudden standstill. 
' Until a more convenient night, I was going to say, my lord,' 
' Well, that's candid,' said the bishop. ' Bywater,' he gravely 

0;dded, 'you have spoken the truth to me freely. Had you 



THE CHANNINGS, 115 

equivocated in the slightest degree, I should have punished you for 
the equivocation. As it is, I shall look upon this as a confidential 
communication, and not order you punishment. But wo will not 
have any more tricks played at locking Ketch up. You under- 
stand ?' 

' All right, my lord. Thank you a hundred times.' 
Bywatcr, touching his trencher, leaped off. The bishop turned 
to enter his palace gates, which were close by, and encountered 
Ketch talking to the head-master. The latter had been passing 
the lodge, when he was seen and pounced upon by Ketch, who 
thought it a good opportunity to make his complaint. 

* I am as morally sure it was them, sir, as I am that I be alive,' 
he was saying when the bishop came up. ' And I don't know who 
they has dealings with ; but, for certain, they have speritcd away 
them rusty keys what did the mischief, without so much as putting 
one o' their noses inside my lodge. I placed 'em safe in the knife- 
box last night, and they be gone this morning. I hope, sir, you'll 
punish them as they deserve. I am nothing, of course. If they 
had locked me up, and kei)t me there till I was worn to a skele- 
ton's bones when found, it might be thought light of ; but his lord- 
ship, the bishop '—bowing sideways to the prelate — ' was a sufferer 
by their wickedness.' 

' To be sure I was,' said the bishop, in a grave tone, but with a 
twinkle in his eye ; ' and therefore the complaint to Mr. Pyo must 
bo preferred by me. Ketch. We will talk of it when I have 
leisure,' he added to Mr. Pye, with a pleasant nod, as he went 
through the palace gates. 

The head-master bowed to the bishop, and walked away, leaving 
Ketch on the growl. 

Meanwhile, Bywater, flying through the cloisters, came upon 
Ilurst, and two or three more of the conspirators. The time was 
between nine and ten. The boys had been home for breakfast 
after early school, and were now reassembling, but they did not gv 
into school until a quarter before ten o'clock. 

' He is such a glorious old trump, that bishop !' burst forth 
Bj-^vater. ' He knows all about it, and he is not a-going to put us 
up for punishment. Let's cut round to the palace gates and cheer 
him.' 

• Knows that it was us !' echoed the boys, startled. * How did it 
me out to him ?' asked Hurst. 

' He guessed it, I think,' said Bywater, ' and he taxed me with it 
dc\\Tiright. So I couldn't help myself, and told him I'd take the 



116 THE CHANNINGS. 

punishment ; <and he said he'd excuse us, but there was to bo no 
locking up of Mr. Calcraft again. I'd lay a hundred guineas the 
bishop went in for scrapes himself, when he was a boy !' emphati- 
cally added Bywater. ' I'll be bound he thinks we only served the 
fellow right. Hurrah for the bishop !' 

'Hurrah for the bishop !' shouted Hurst, with the other chorus 
of voices. 'Long life to him! He's made of the right sort oi 
stuff ! I say, though, Jenkins is the worst,' added Hurst, his note 
changing. ' My father says he doesn't know but what brain fever 
will come on.' 

* Moonshine !' laughed the boys. 

'•Upon my word and honour it is not. He pitched right upon his 
head ; it might have cost him his life had he fallen upon the edge 
of the stone step, but they think he alighted flat. My father was 
round with him this morning at six o'clock.' 

* Does your father know about it ?' 

* Not he. What next ?' cried Hurst. * Should I stand before him 
and take my trencher off, with a bow, and say, " If you please, dear 
father, it was the college boys who served out old Ketch !" That 
would be a nice joke ! He said at breakfast, this morning, that that 
fumbling old Ketch must have got hold of the wrong keys. " Of 
course, sir !" answered I,' 

' Oh ! what do you think, though ?' interrupted Bywater. 
' jvetch can't find the keys. He put them in a knife-box, he says, 
and this morning they are gone. He intended to take them round 
to Pye, and I left him going rampant over the loss. Didn't I chaff 
him.' 

Hurst laughed. He unbuttoned the pocket of his trousers, and 
partially exhibited two rusty keys. 'I was not going to leave 
them to Ketch for witnesses,' said he. ' I saw him throw them 
into tlie tray last night, and I walked them out again, while he 
was talking to the crowd.' 

' I say, Hurst, don't be such a ninny as to keep them about you !' 
exclaimed Berkeley, in a fright. ' Suppose Pye should go in for a 
search this morning, and visit our pockets? You'd floor us at 
once !' 

*The truth is, I don't know where to put them, ingenuously 
acknowledged Hurst. ' If I hid them at home, they'd get found ; if 
I dropped them in the street, some hullaballoo might arise from 
it.' 

' Let's carry them ba(3k to the old-iron shop, »n.d get the fellow 
to retake them at half the price we gave !' 




THE CHANKINGS. 11/ 

* Catcli him doing that ! Besides, the trick is sure to get wind in 
the town ; he might be capable of coming forward and declaring 
that we bought the keys at his shop !' 

' Let's throw 'em down old Pye's well !' 

* They'd come up again in the bucket, like ghosts do !* 

' Couldn't we make a railway parcel of them, and direct it to 
"Mr. Smith, London?"' 

* " Two pounds to pay ; to be kept till called for," ' added Mark 
Galloway, improving upon the suggestion. * They'd put it in their 
fire-proof safe, and it would never come out agair.' 

'Dash them into the river,' said Stephen Bywater. * That's the 
only safe place : they'd lie at the bottom for ever. We have got 
time to do it now. Come along.' 

Acting promptly upon the impulse, as schoolboys usually do, 
they went galloping out of the cloisters, running against the head- 
master, who was entering then, and nearly overturning his equi- 
librium. He gave them an angry word of caution ; they touched 
their caps in reply, and somewhat slackened their speed, resuming 
the gallop when he was beyond hearing. 

Inclosing the cathedral and its precincts on the western side, 
was a wall, built of red stone. It was only breast high, standing 
on this side, the cathedral side ; but on the other it descended 
several feet, to the broad path which ran along the banks of the 
river. The boys made for this wall, and gained it, their faces hot, 
and vheir breath gone. 

' Who'll pitch 'em in ?' cried Hurst, who did not altogether relish 
being chief actor himself, for windows looked on that particular spot 
from various angles and corners of the Boundaries. *You shall dc 
it, Galloway !' 

* Oh shall I, though !' returned young Galloway, not relishing it, 
either. 

' You precious rebel ! Take the keys, and do as I order you !' 
Young Galloway was under Hurst. He no more dared to dis- 
obey him than he could have disobeyed the head-master. Had 
Hurst ordered him to jump into the river he must have done it. 
He took the keys tendered him by Hurst, and was raising them for 
the pitch, when Bywater laid his hand upon them and struck them 
down with a sudden movement, clutching them to him. 

* You little wretch, you are as deaf as a donkey !' he uttered. 
* There's somebody coming up. Turn your head, and look who it is. 

It proved to be Fordham, the dean's servant. He was bu* 
accidentally passing. The boys did not fear him ; nevertheless, ii 



118 THE CHANNINOa. 

was only prudent to remain still, until he had gone. They stood, 
all the five, leaning upon the wall, soiling their waistcoats and the 
sleeves of their jackets, in apparent contemplation of the view 
beyond. A pleasant view ! The river wound peacefully along 
between its green banks ; meadows and cornfields were stretched 
out beyond ; while an opening afforded a glimpse of that lovely 
chain of hills, their tops touching the blue sky, and the white 
houses nestled at their base. A barge, drawn by a horse, was ap- 
petvring slowly from underneath the city bridge, blue smoke ascend- 
ing from its chimney. A woman on board was hanging out linen 
to dry — a shirt, a pair of stockings, and a handkerchief — her 
husband's change for the coming Sunday, A young girl was scrap- 
ing potatoes beside her ; and a man, probably the husband, sat 
steering, his pipe in his mouth. The boys fixed their eyes upon 
the boat. 

' I shouldn't mind such a life as that fellow's yonder !' exclaimed 
young Berkeley, who was fonder of idleness than he was of Latin. 
* I'll turn bargeman if other trades fail. It must be rather jolly to 
sit steering a boat all day, and do nothing but smoke.' 

* Fordham's gone, and be hanged to him ! Now for it, Galloway !' 

' Stop a bit,' said By water. * They must be wrapped up, or else 
tied close together. Better wrap them up, and then no matter 
who sees. They can't swear there are keys inside. "Who has got 
any paper ?' 

One of the boys. Hall, had his exercise book with him. Tliey 
tore a sheet or two out of it, and folded it round the keys, Hurst 
producing some string. ' I'll be flinger,' said By^vater. 

' Make haste, then, or we shall have to wait till the barge has 
gone by.' 

Bywater took a cautious look round, saw nobody, and flung the 
parcel into the middle of the river. ' Rari nantes in gurgite vasto /' 
ejaculated he. 

' Now, you gents, what be you a-throwing into the river ?' 

The words came from Hudson, the porter to the Boundaries, who 
appeared to have sprung up from the ground. In reality, he had 
been standing on the steps leading to the river, but the boat-house 
had hid him from their view. He was a very different man from the 
cloister porter ; was afraid of the college boys, rather then other- 
wise, and addressed them individually as ' sir.' The keeper of the 
boat-house heard this, and came up the steps. 

' If you gentlemen have been a-throwing anything into the river 
you know that it's against the rules.' 




THE CHANNINnS. 119 

* Don't botlier !' returned llurst to the keeper. 

' But you know it is wrong, gentlemen,' remonstrated the keepei> 
What was it you throwed in ? It made a dreadful splash.' 

* Ah ! what was i-t T coolly answered Hurst. ' What should you 
say to a dead cat ? Hudson, have the goodness to mind your 
business, unless you would like to get reported for interfering with 
what does not concern you.' 

*■ There's a quarter to ten !' exclaimed Bywater, as the college 
clock chimed the three-quarters. * We shall bo marked late, every 
fioul of us !' 

They flew away, their feet scarcely touching the ground, clat- 
tered up the schoolroom stairs, and took their places. Gaunt was 
only beginning to call over the roll, and they escaped the ' late 
mark. 

* It's better to be born lucky than rich,' said saucy Bywater, 



CHAPTEK XYI. 

MUCH TO ALTEB. 

At the same moment Constance Channing was traversing the 
Boundaries, on her way to the house of Lady Augusta Yorkc, 
where she had, some days since, commenced her duties. It took 
her scarcely two minutes to get there, for the houses were nearly 
within view of each other. Constance would willingly have com- 
menced the daily routine at an earlier hour. Lady Augusta freely 
confessed that to come earlier would be useless, for she could not 
get her daughters up. Strictly speaking, Lady Augusta did not 
try personally to get them up, for she generally lay in bed herself. 

'That is one of the habits I must alter in the children,' thought 
Constance. 

She entered, took off her things in the room app.'Opriated, and 
passed into the schoolroom. It was empty, thougu i-lq children 
ought to have been there, preparing then- lessons. Fanny came 
running in, her hair a mass of curl-papers, and her mouth full of 
bread-and-butter. 

* Carry has not finished her breakfast, Miss Channing,' quoth she. 
She was lazy this morning !' 

* I think somebody else was lazy also,' said Constance, gently 
drawing the child to her. ' Why did you come do^vn half-dressed, 
my dear V 



120 THE 0HANNINQ8. 

* I am wliole dressed,' responded Fanny. * My frock'B on, and 
my pinafore.' 

' And tliese ?' said Constance, touching tlie curl-papers. 

' Oh, Martha got up too late, and said she had no time to tak<3 
them out. It will keep in curl all the better. Miss Channing ; and 
perhaps I am going to the missionary meeting with mamma. 

Constance rang the bell. Martha, who was the only maid kept, 
except the cook, appeared in answer to it. Lady Augusta MHif 
wont to say that she had too much expense with her boys to 
keep many servants ; and the argument was true. 

*Be so kind as to take the papers out of Miss Fanny's hair. 
And let it be done in future, Martha, before she comes to me.' 

Gently as the words were spoken, there was no mistaking that 
the tone was one of authority, and not to be trifled with. Martha 
withdrew with the child. And, just then, Caroline came in, full 
of eagerness. 

' Miss Channing, mamma says she shall take one of us to the 
missionary meeting, whichever you choose to fix upon. Mind you 
fix upon me ! What does that little chit. Fanny, want at a mis- 
sionary meeting ? She is too young.* 

*Tt is expected to be a very interesting meeting,' observed 
Constance, making no reply to Miss Caroline's special request. 
' A gentleman who has lived for some years amongst the poor 
heathens is to give a history of his personal experiences. Some 
of the anecdotes are beautiful.' 

* Who told you they were ?' asked Caroline. 

'Mr. Yorke,' replied Constance, a pretty blush rising to her 
cheek. * He knows the gentleman well. You would be pleased to 
hear them.' 

* It is not for that I wish to go,' said Caroline. ' I think meet- 
ings, where there's nothing but talking, are the dullest things in 
the world. If I were to listen, it would send me to sleep.' 

' Then why do you wish so much to attend this one ?' 

* Because I shall wear my new dress. I have not had it on yet. 
It rained last Sunday, and mamma would not let me put it on for 
college. I was in such a passion.' 

Constance wondered where she should begin. There was so 
much to do ; so much to alter in so many ways. To set to work 
abruptly would never answer. It must be commenced gradually 
almost imperceptibly, little by little. 

'Caroline, do you know that you have disobeyed me T 

' In what way, Miss Channing?' 




THE CUANNINGS. 121 

' Did 1 not request you to have that exercise written ?' 

' I know,' said Caroline, with some contrition. * I intended to 
write it this morning before you came; but somehow I lay in 
bed; 

'If I were to come to you every morning at seven o'clock, 
would you undertake to get up and be ready for me ?' asked 
Constance. 

Caroline drew a long face. She did not speak. 

' My dear, you are fifteen.' 

' Well ?' responded Caroline, 

* And you must not feel hurt if I tell you that I should think no 
other young lady of that age and in your position is half so de- 
ficient as you are. Deficient in many ways, Caroline : in goodness, 
in thoughtfulness, and in other desirable qualities ; and greatly so 
in education. Annabel, who is a year younger than you, is twice 
as far advanced.' 

' Annabel says you worry her into learning.' 

* Annabel is fond of talking nonsense ; but she is a good, loving 
child at heart. You would be surprised at the little trouble she 
really gives me while she makes a show of giving me a great deal. 
I have so much to teach you, Caroline — to your mind and heart, as 
well as to your intellect — that I feel the hours as at present 
arranged, will be insufiicient. My dear, when you grow up a 
woman, I am sure you will wish to be a loving and a loved one.' 

Caroline burst into tears. ' I should do better if mamma were 
not so cross with me, Miss Channing. I always do anything that 
William Yorke asks me ; and I will do anything for you.' 

Constance kissed her. ' Then you will begin by rising early, and 
being ready for me at seven ?' 

* Yes, I will,' answered Caroline. ' But Martha must be sure t^ 
call me. Are you going to the meeting this afternoon ?' 

* Of course not,' said Constance. ' My time now belongs to you ' 

* But I think mamma wishes you to go with us. She said some- 
thing about it.' 

'Does she.? I should very much like to go.' 

Lady Augusta came in and proffered the invitation to Constance 
to accompany them. Constance then spoke of giving the children 
the extra two hours, from seven to nine : it was really necessary, 
she said, if she was to do her duty by them. 

' How very conscientious you are !' laughed Lady Augusta, hei 
tone savouring of ridicule. 

Constance coloured almost to tears with her emotion. ' I ani 



122 THE CHANNINGS. 

responsible to One always, Lady Augusta. . I may not make mine 
only eye-service.' 

'You never will put up with our scrambling breakfast, Miss 
Channing. The boys are so unruly ; and I do not get up to it hali 
my time.' 

' I will go home to breakfast. I should prefer it. And be here 
again at ten.' 

* Whatever time do you get up ?' 

'Not very early,' answered Constance. * Hitherto I have risen 
at seven, summer and winter. Dressing and reading takes me 
just an hour ; the other hour I find plenty of occupation for. Wo 
do not breakfast until nine, on account of Tom and Charley. I 
shall rise at six now, and come here at seven.' 

'Very well,' said Lady Augusta. *I suppose this will only 
apply to the summer months. One of the girls shall go with us to- 
day ; whichever shall deserve it best. 

* You are not leaving one of them at home to make room for me, I 
hope. Lady Augusta V 

' Not at all,' answered Lady Augusta. ' I never chaperone two 
children to a crowded meeting. People might say they took up 
the room of grown persons.' 

'You will let me go — not Caroline, Miss Channing?' pleaded 
Fanny, when her mother quitted ♦them. 

' No,' said Caroline, sharply ; ' Miss Channing will fix upon me.' 

' I shall obey Lady Augusta, and decide upon the one who shall 
best merit it,' smiled Constance. ' It will be only right to do so.' 

' Suppose we are both good, and merit it equally ?' suggested 
Fanny. 

' Then, my dear little girl, you must not be disappointed if, in 
that case, T give the privilege to Caroline, as being the elder of the 
two. But I will make it up to you in some other way.' 

Alas for the resolution of poor Caroline ! For a short Avhile, 
in iiour or so, she did strive to do her best ; but then the good 
resolves were forgotten, and idleness supervened. Not only idle- 
ness, temper also. Never had she been so troublesome to Con- 
stance as on this day ; she even forgot herself so far as to be inso- 
lent. Fanny was taken to the Town Hall meeting — you saw her 
in the carriage when Lady Augusta drove to Mr. Galloway's office, 
and persuaded Hamish to join them — Carohne was left at home, in 
a state of open rebellion, with the lessons to learn which she had 
not learnt in the day. 

* How shall you get on with them, Constance ?' the Eev. Mr. 



THE CHANNINGS. 123 

Yorkc inquired of her that same evening. 'Have the -weeds 
destroyed the good seed ?' 

* Not quite destroyed it,' replied Constance, though she sighed 
sadly as she spoke, as if nearly losing heart for the task she ha 
undertaken. ' There is so much ill to undo. Caroline is the worst 
the weeds, with her, have had longer time to get ahead. I think, 
perhaps, if I could keep her wholly with me for a twelvemonth or 
BO, watching over her constantly, a great deal might be effected.' 

' If that anticipated living would fall, which seems very far away 
in the clouds, and you were wholly mine, we might have Caroline 
with us for a time,' laughed Mr. Yorke. 

Constance laughed too. * Do not be impatient, or it will seem to 
be further off still. It will come, William.' 

They had been speaking in an under tone, standing together at a 
window, apart from the rest. Mr. Channing was lying on his sofa 
underneath the other window, and now spoke to Mr. Yorke. 

' You had a treat, I hear, at the meeting to-day ?' 

* We had, indeed, sir,' replied Mr. Yorke, advancing to take a 
seat near him. ' It is not often wo have the privilege of listening 
to so eloquent a speaker as Dr. Lamb. His experience is great, and 
his whole heart was in his subject. I should like to bring him here 
to call upon you.' 

' I should be pleased to receive him,' replied Mr. Channing. 

' I think it is possible that his experience in another line may be 
of suggestive service to you,' continued Mr. Yorke. * You are aware 
that it was ill-health drove him home ?' 

' I have heard so.' 

'His complamt was rheumatism; very much, as I fancy, the 
same kind of rheumatism that afflicts you. He told me ho came to 
Europe with but little hope : he feared his complaint had become 
chronic and incurable. But he has been restored in a wonderful 
manner, and is sound and healthy again.' 

* And what remedies did he use ?' eagerly asked Mr. Channing. 

' A three months' residence at some medicinal springs in Ger- 
many. Nothing else. When I say nothing else, of course I must 
imply that he was under medical treatment and supervision there. 
It is the same thing, you see, sir, that has been ordered for you.' 

' Ay !' sighed Mr. Channing, feeling how very faint appeared tc 
w ; the hope that he should have the opportunity of trying it. 

* I was mentioning your case to him,' observed Mr. Yorke. ' Ho 
said ho had no doubt the baths would do you an equal good. He is 
a doctor, you know. T will bring him here to talk it over with you.* 



124 TUE CEANNINGS. 

At that moment Mr. Galloway entered : the subject was coii' 
tinned. Mr. Yorke and Mr. Galloway were eloquent on it, telling 
Mr. Channing that he must get to Germany, as a point of duty. 
The Channings themselves were silent : they could not see the way 
at all clear. When Mr. Yorke was leaving, he beckoned Constance 
and Arthur into the hall. 

* Mr. Channing must go,' he whispered to them. * Think of the 
stake ! Eenewed health, renewed exertion, renewed happiness ! 
Arthur, you did not urge it by a single hopeful word.' 

Arthur did not feel hopeful ; indeed his heart sank within him 
the whole time that they were talking. Hamisli and his difficulties 
were the dark grief; though he could not tell this to Mr. Yorke. 
Were Mr. Channing to go abroad, and the arrest of Hamish to 
supervene upon it, the post they held, and its emoluments, might 
be taken from them at once and for ever. 

' Dr. Lamb says the cost was so trifling as scarcely to be credited,' 
continued Mr. Yorke in a tone of remonstrance. ' Ai'thur, don't 
you care to help — to save him ?' 

' I would move heaven and earth to save my father !' impulsively 
spoke Arthur, stung by the implied reproof. ' I should not care 
what labour it cost me to get the money, so that I did get it.' 

*We all would,' said Constance; 'you must know we would, 
William. From Hamish downwards.' 

* Who is that, making free with Hamisn s name ?' demanded that 
gentleman himself, entering the house with a free step and merry 
countenance. 'Did you think I was lost? I got seduced into 
joining your missionaiy-meeting people, and have had to stop at 
the office late, to make up for it.' 

' We have been talking about papa, Hamish,' said Constance. 
* Fresh hope seems to arise daily that those German baths would 
•estore him. They have cured Dr. Lamb.' 

* 1 say, Hamish, that the money must be found for it somehow,' 
added Mr. Yorke. 

'Found! of course it shall be found,' cried gay Hamish. 'I 
intend to be a chief contributor to it myself.' But his joking words 
and careless manner jarred at that moment upon the spirit both of 
Arthur and Constance Channing. 

Why ? Could there have been any unconscious foreshadowing 
of unseen evil to come ? 



TUB CUANNTNG8. 125 



CHAPTER XVTI. 

SUNDAY MORNING AT MR. CHANNING's, AND AT LADY ADGUSTA's. 

The day of rest came round in due course. A day of rest it is tn 
truth to those who have learnt to make it such ; a pleasant time 
of peace ; a privileged season of commune with God ; a loving 
day of social happiness for home and home ties. And yet, strange 
to say, it is, to some, the most scuffling, uncomfortable, disagreeable 
day of all the seven. 

Mrs. Channing's breakfast hour was nine o'clock on ordinary 
days, made thus late for convenience-sake. On Sundays it was 
half-past eight. Discipline and training had rendered rules easy 
to be observed at Mr. Channing's ; or, it may be better to say, it 
had rendered them difficult to be disobeyed. At half-past eight all 
were in the breakfast-room, dressed for the day. When the hour 
for divine service should arrive, they had but to put on their hats 
and bonnets to be ready for it. Even old Judy was grand on a 
Sunday morning. Her mob cap was of spotted net, instead of plain 
and her check apron was replaced by a white one. 

With great personal inconvenience, and some pain — for he was 
always worse in the morning — Mr. Channing would on that day rise 
to breakfast. It had been his invariable custom to take the read- 
ing himself on Sunday — the little while he devoted to religion — and 
he was unwilling to break through it. Breakfast over, it was immedi- 
ately entered upon, and would be finished by ten o'clock. He did 
not preach a sermon ; he did not give them much reading ; it was 
only a little bit of homely preparation for the day and the services 
they were about to enter upon ; very unwise it had been of Mr. 
Channing, to tire his children with a private service before the 
public service began. 

Breakfast, on these mornings, was always a longer meal than 
usual. There was no necessity to bustle and hurry over it, in order 
to hasten to the various occupations of e very-day hfe. It wks 
taken in leisurely quiet, amidst much pleasant, social converse. 
Mrs. Channing had many little odds and ends of rules which she 
had brought her children up to observe, all tending to the better 
Hallowing of that privileged day. Eor one thing, she had neFOi 



126 THE OHANNINGS. 

allowed them to put on new clothes upon the Sunday. The very 
best of us are but human; and one, to whom God gave great 
wisdom, has told us that childhood and youth are vanity. When 
our hair grows grey and our body drooping, then we may be wise 
enough to begin to put vanity away from us : but, in earlier life, 
we no doubt possess our share. ' This new suit of broad-cloth, 
home last night from the tailor's, how does it fit me? — how does it 
look, I wonder? Are you, who are staring at me, admiring the 
taste I have displayed in the selection ? — are you thinking how tall 
and well my figure appears in it ? But the coat is tight under the 
arms. Bother the fellow! he must alter it to-moiTOw. I feel 
like one in a vice.' 

' Oh this charming bonnet ! I am sure I never had on so be- 
coming a one before ! I am so glad I chose it white ! — it contrasts 
so well with .this lovely new lilac dress. Let me glance round i 
there's nobody looking half so well as I, I declare ! I don't see a 
single new bonnet or dress out to-day, except mine. What a set 
of dowdies ! Goodness me, though ! she has dreadfully pinched 
my waist in, that dress-maker ! I can't breathe. I shall be 
miserable all day.' 

Now all this — this self-complacency, self-absorption, self-torture 
— are very legitimate at times and seasons, for there's no help for it ; 
and all the preaching of all the world could not put such feelings 
away from the young. In a greater or less degree, they do and 
must prevail ; new things must be donned for the first time, and 
we must grow accustomed to their fresh aspect, to their misfit, to 
our own good looks in them. Very good. But Mrs. Channing did 
not choose that Sunday should be wasted in these idle thoughts : 
any day in the week from Monday to Saturday, they might put on 
their new clothes to get seasoned to them ; but not on Sunday. I 
think the rule was a good one. 

As they were assembling for breakfast on this morning, Arthur 
came in. It was so unusual for them to leave the house early on a 
Sunday, that Mr. Channing looked at him with surprise. 

' I have been to see Jenkins, sir,' he explained. '■ In coming homo 
last night, I met Mr. Hurst, who told me he feared Jenkins was 
getting worse. I would not go to see him then ; it might have 
been late to disturb him, so I have been now.' 

' And how is he ?' inquired Mr. Channing. 

' A great deal better,' replied Arthur. * So much better that 
Mr. Ilurst says ho may come to the office to-morrow should thero 
l>3 no relapse. He enjoins strict quiet for him to-day. And l^Irs 



THE CHANNING8. 127 

Jenkins is determined that ho shall have quiet ; tlicrcforo I am 
Biire he will,' Arthur added, laughing. * She says ho appeared ill 
last night only from the number of visitors ho had seen. Tlicy 
were coming in all day long, and on the Friday besides.' 

*Why should people flock to see Jenkins?' exclaimed Tom. 
* He is nobody.* 

'That is just what Mrs. Jenkins said this morning,' returned 
Arthur. ' I believe they go out of curiosity to hear the truth of 
the locking-up in the cloisters. The bishop's having been one of 
the sufferers has aroused the interest of Helstonleigh.' 

* I am very glad that Jenkins is better,' observed Mr. Channing. 
' So am I,' emphatically answered Arthur. He was pretty surfe 

Tom had had no share in the exploit ; but ho did not know about 
Charley. 

' The dean preaches to-day,' suddenly called out Tom. 

'How do you know?' demanded Annabel. 

' Because I do,' oracularly spoke Tom. 

' Will you condescend to inform mo how you know it, Tom, if 
you will not inform Annabel .J^' asked Mr. Channing. 

Tom laughed. ' The dean began his close residence yesterday, 
papa. Therefore we know he will preach to-day.' 

Mr. Channing sighed. He was debarred from attending the 
pubhc services, and he felt the deprivation keenly when he found 
that any particularly eminent man was to fill the cathedral pulpit. 
The dean of Helstonleigh was an admirable preacher. 

'Oh !' exclaimed Mr. Channing, in the uncontrollable impulse of 
the moment, ' if i could but regain my health and streng-th !' 

'It will come, James; God willing,' said Mrs. Channing, look 
ing up hopefully from the oups she w^as filling. 'What I have* 
heard of Dr. Lamb's restoration has put new confidence into me.' 

'I think Mr. Yorke intends to bring Dr. Lamb to see you this 
afternoon, papa,' said Constance. 

* I shall be glad to see him ; I shall be glad to hear the par- 
ticulars of his case and its cure,' exclaimed Mr. Channing, with all 
conscious eagerness. 'Did Mr. Yorke tell you he should bring 
him to-day, Constance ?' 

' Yes, papa. Dr. Lamb intends to be at the cathedral for after- 
noon service, and Mr. Yorke said he would bring him here after- 
wards,' 

' You must get him to take tea with us, Mary.' 

' Certainly,' answered Mrs. Channing. ' In six months from 
this, Jaracs, you may be as well and active as ever.' 



12» THE CHANNINGS. 

Mr. Channing raised liis hands, as if warding ofif the words. 
Not of the words was he afraid, but of the hopes they whispered. 
' I think too much about it, already, Mary. It is not as though 1 
were sure of getting to the medicinal baths.' 

' We will take care that you do that, sir,* said Hamish, with nia 
sunny smile. 

* You cannot help in it, you know, Hamish,' interposed saucy 
Annabel. * It will be Arthur and Constance who will help— not 
you. I heard you say so !' 

' But I have changed my mind, and intend to help,' returned 
Hamish. 'And, if you will allow me the remark, young lady, 
I think it would better become a certain little girl, not to be quite 
so free with her tongue !' 

Was Hamish speaking in jest, or earnest, with regard to the 
helping point of the affair ? A peculiar tone in his voice, in spite 
of its lightness, had struck both Constance and Arthur, each being 
in the secret of his worse than want of funds. 

The second bell was beginning to chime, as the Channing family 
entered the cloister gates. Tom and Charles had gone on pre- 
viously. Panting, breathless, nearly knocking down Annabel, came 
Tod Yorke, terribly afraid of being marked late. 

'Take care, Tod!' exclaimed Hamish. 'Are you running foi 
a wager ?' 

'Don't keep me, Mr. Hamish Channing! Those incapable 
servants of om-s never called us till the bell began. I have had no 
breakfast, and Gerald couldn't find his shirt. He has had to come 
in his dirty one, with his waistcoat buttoned up. Won't my lady 
be in a rage when she sees him ?' 

Getting up and breakfasting were generally scufilmg affairs at 
Lady Augusta's ; but the confusion of every day was as nothing, 
compared to that of Sunday. Master Tod was wrong when he 
complained that he had not been called. The servants had called 
both him and Gerald, who shared the same room, but the young 
gentlemen had gone to sleep again. The hour named for break- 
fast was the same as other mornings, nine o'clock ; but, for all the 
observance it obtained, they might as well have named nine at 
night. To give the servants their due, the breakfast, on this 
morning, was on the table at nine — that is, the cloth and the cups 
and saucers : and there it stopped till ten. The maids meanwhile 
enjoyed their own leisurely breakfast in the kitchen, regaling 
themselves with hot coffee, poached eggs, buttered toast, and a 
dish of gossip. At ten, Lady Aug\ista, who made a merit of alwayn 



THE CHANNINGS. 123 

risLng to breakfast on a Sunday, entered the breakfast parlour in a 
dirty morning wrapper, and rang the bell. 

' Is nobody down ?' cried she, sharply. 

'I think not, my lady,' was Martha's reply. * I have not heard 
them. I have been three times into the young ladies' room, but 
they would not get out of bed.' 

This was not quite true. Martha had been in once^ and had got 
grumbled at for her pains. ' None of them ever will get up on a 
Sunday morning,' added Martha ; * they say, " where 's the good ?" 

' Bring in the breakfast,' crossly responded Lady Augusta. 

* And then go up to the young ladies, and see whether the rest are 
getting up. What has the cook been at with this coffee ?' Lady 
Augusta added, when she came to pour it out. ' It is cold. Her 
coffee is always cold.' 

* It has been made half an hour, I know, my lady.- 

The first to appear was the youngest child of all, little Frank , 
the next, his brother, a year older ; they w^ore dirty collars, and 
their hair was uncombed. Then came the young ladies — Caroline 
without a frock, a shawl thrown on, instead, and Fanny in her 
curl-papers. Lady Augusta scolded them for their late appear- 
ance, forgetting, possibly, that she set the example. 

* It is not much after ten,' said Caroline. ' We shall be in time 
for college.' 

* It is hard upon half-past,' replied Lady Augusta. ' Why do 
you come down in a petticoat, Caroline ?' 

* That stupid dressmaker has put no tape to my dress in front, 
and I could not fasten it down,' fretfully responded Caroline. 

* Martha is sewing it on.' 

Eoland lounged in, not more presentable than the rest. Why 
had Lady Augusta not brought them up to better habits ? Why 
should they come down on a Sunday morning more untidy than on 
others ? They would have told you, had you asked the question, 
that on other mornings they must be dressed, to hasten to their 
daily occupations. Ah ! Had Sunday no occupation, then ? Did 
it deserve no marked deference? Had I been Lady Augusta 
Yorke, I should have said to Eoland that morning, when I saw his 
slip-shod slippers and his collarless neck, ' If you show no respect 
for me, show it for the day !' 

Half-past ten struck, and Lady Augusta started up to fly to her 
own room. She had much to do yet, ere she could be presentable 
for college. Caroline followed. Fanny wondered what Gerald 
ipd Tod would do. Not yet down ! 



130 THE CHANNINGS. 

'Those boys will got a tanning, to-morrow, from old Py©? 
exclaimed Eoland, remembering the time when 'tannings' had 
been his portion for the same fault. ' Go and see what they are 
after, Martha.' 

They were ' after ' jumping up in alarm, aroused by the college 
bell. Amidst wild confusion, for nothing seemed to be at hand, 
with harsh reproaches to Martha, touching their shirts and socks, 
and other necessary articles of attire, they got down-stairs, some- 
how, and flew out of the house on their way to the college school- 
room ; Gerald drinking down a fresh-made cup of coffee, scalding 
liot; Tod cramming a thick piece of bread-and-butter into his 
trousers' pocket, and trusting to good luck to eat it between- 
whiles. All this was nothing unusual; it was the customary 
scuffle of Sunday morning. The Yorkes did get to college, some- 
how, and there was an end of it. 

After the conclusion of the service, as the congregation were 
dispersing, Mr. Galloway came up to Arthur Channing in the 
cloisters, and drew him aside. 

' Do you recollect taking out the letters to the post, last Friday 
afternoon ?' he inquired. 

*0n Friday?' mused Arthur, who could not at the moment 
recollect much about that particular day's letters ; it was he who 
generally posted them for the office. ' Oh, yes, I do remember, 
sir,* he replied, as the relative circumstances flashed across him. 

Mr". Galloway looked at him, possibly doubting whether he 
really did remember. ' How many letters were there for the post 
,hat afternoon ?' he asked. 

* Three,' promptly rejoined Arthur. ' Two were for London, 
and one was for Ventnor.' 

'Just so,' assented Mr, Galloway. 'Now, then, to whom did 
you intrust the posting of those letters .?' 

* I did not intrust them to any one,' replied Arthui* ; ' I posted 
them myself.' 

* You are sure ?' 

' Quite sure, sir,' answered Arthur, in some surprise. Eut Mr. 
Galloway said no more, and gave no explanation of the reason for 
his inquiry. He turned into his own house, which was situated 
near the cloister gates, and Arthur wxnt on home. 

Had you been attending worship in Helstonleigh Cathedral that 
same afternoon, you might have observed, as one of the congi-ega- 
tion, a tall stout man, with a dark, sallow face, and grey hair. He 
sat in a stall near to the Beverend William Yorke, who was the 



THE CHANNINGS. 131 

officiating- cluintcr foi the afternoon. It was Dr. Lamb. A fiome- 
wliat peculiar history was his. Brought up to the medical proles- 
fiion, and taking his physician's degree early, he went out to settle 
in New Zealand, where he had friends. Circumstances brought 
him into frequent contact with the natives there, A benevolent, 
thoughtful man, gifted with much Christian grace, the sad spiritual 
state of these poor heathens gave the deepest concern to Dr. Lamb. 
Ho did what he could for them bet ween- whiles, but his profession 
took up most of his time : often did he wish he had more time 
at his command. A few years of hard work, and then the wish 
was realized. A small patrimony Avas bequeathed him, sufficient to 
enable him to live. From that time he applied himself to the 
arduous duties of a missionary, and his labours were crowned with 
marked success. Next came illness. He was attacked with rheu- 
matism in the joints ; and after many unavailing remedies had been 
tried, came home in search of health, which he found, as you have 
heard, in certain spas of Germany. 

Mr. Channing watched the time-piece eagerly. Unless it has 
been your portion, my reader, to undergo long, and apparently 
hopeless, affliction, and to find yourself at length unexpectedly 
told that there may be a cure for you ; that another, afflicted in a 
similar manner, has been restored to health by simple means, and 
will call upon you and describe to you what they were — you could 
scarcely comprehend the nervous expectancy of Mr. Channing on 
this afternoon. Four o'clock ! they would not be long now. 

A very little time longer, and they were with him — his family, 
Mr. Yorke, and Dr. Lamb. The chief subject of anxiety was soon 
entered upon. Dr. Lamb describing his illness at great length. 

* But were you as helpless as I am .?' inquired Mr. Channing. 

' Quite as helpless. I was carried on board the ship, and carried 
to a bed at an hotel when I reached England. From what I have 
heard of your case, and by what you say, I should judge the 
nature of your malady to be precisely similar to mine.' 

' And now tell me about the healing remedy.' 

Dr. Lamb paused. *You must promise to put faith in my 
prescription.' 

;Mr. Channing raised his eyes in surprise. * Why should I not 
put faith in it .?' 

' Because it will appear to you so very simple. I consulted a 
medical man in London, one eminent in rheumatic cases, and ho 
gave it as his opinion that a month or two passed at one of tho 
continental springs might restore me. I laughed at him.' 



L32 THE CHANNINGS. 

* You did not believe him r'* 

* I did not, indeed. Shall I confess to you that I felt vexed with 
him? There was I, a poor afflicted man, lying in helplessness, 
racked with pain ; and to be gravely assured that a short sojourn 
at a pleasant foreign watering-place would, in all probability, cure 
me, sounded to me very like mockery. I knew something of the 
disease, its ordinary treatment, and its various phases. It was 
true I had left Europe many years, and strange changes had been 
taking place in medical science. Still, I had no faith in what he 
said, as being applicable to my own case ; and for a whole month, 
week after week, day after day, declined to entertain his views. 
I considered that it would be so much time and money lost.' 

Dr. Lamb paused. Mr. Channing did not interrupt him. 

* One Sunday evening, I was on my solitary sofa — lying in pain 
— as I can see you are lying now. The bells were ringing out for 
evening service. I lay thinking of my distressed condition ; wish- 
ing I could be healed. By-and-by, after the bells had ceased, and 
the worshippers had assembled within the walls of the sanctuaiy, 
from which privilege I was excluded, I took my Bible. It opened 
of itself at the 5th chapter of the second book of Kings. I began 
to read it, somewhat, I fear, listlessly — listlessly, at any rate, 
compared with the strange enthusiasm which grew over me as 1 
read, " Go and wash m Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall 
come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. And Naaman was 
wroth. . . . And his servants spake unto him and said, My father, 
if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not 
have done it ? how much rather then, when he saith unto thee, 
Wash, and be clean ?" 

'Mr. Channing,' Dr. Lamb continued in a deeper tone, *tlie 
words sounded in my ear, fell upon my heart, like a very message 
sent direct from God. All the folly of my own obstinate disbelief 
came full upon me ; the scales seemed to fall from my eyes, and I 
said, " Shall I not try the simple thing?" A firm conviction that 
the chapter had been directed to me that night as a warning, 
seated itself within me ; and, from that hour, I never entertained 
a shadow of doubt but that the baths would be successful.' 

' And you journeyed to them ?' 

' Instantly. Within a week I was there. 1 seemed to know that 
I was going to my cure. You will not, probably, understand this.' 

*I understand it perfectly,' was Mr. Channing' s answer. 'I 
believe that a merciful Providence does vouchsafe, at rare timet>, to 
move us by these direct interpositions. I need not ask you if you 



THE CHANNINGS. 133 

were 3iired. I have heard yoii were. I see you are. Can you tell 
me aught of the actual means ?' 

* I was ordered to a part of Prussian Germany, a small place in 
the vicinity of Aix-la-Chapelle ; a quiet, unpretending, cheap place, 
where there are ever-perpetual springs of boiling, sulphuric watei. 
The precise course of treatment I will come in another day and 
describe to you. I had to drink a great deal of the water, warm — 
six or eight half-pints of it per day ; I had to bathe regularly in 
this water ; and I had to take what are called douche baths every 
other day.' 

' I have heard of the douche baths,' said Mr. Channing. * Eather 
fierce, are they not ?' 

' Fierce !' echoed the doctor. * The first time I tried one, 1 
thought I was never coming out alive. The water was dashed 
upon me, through a tube, with what seemed alarming force, until I 
got used to it ; while an attendant rubbed and turned and twisted 
my limbs, as if they had been so many straws in his strong hand. 
So violent is the action of the water that my face had to be pro- 
tected by a board, lest it should come in contact with it.' 

'Strong treatment !' remarked Mr. Channing. 

'Strong, but eifectual. Effectual, so far as my case was con- 
cerned. Whether it was the drinking of the water, or the sulphur 
baths, or the douches, or the pure air, or the Prussian doctor's 
medicine, or all combined, I was, under God's goodness, restored 
to health. I entertain no doubt that you may be.' 

' And the cost ?' asked Mr. Channing, with a sigh he could not 
wholly suppress. 

' There's the beauty of it ! there's the benefit to us poor folks, 
who possess but a shallow purse, and that only half filled,' laughed 
Dr. Lamb. ' Had it been expensive, / could not have aff'orded it. 
These baths, mind you, are in the hotel, which is the greatest 
possible accommodation to invalids ; the warm baths cost a franc 
each, the douche two francs, the water you drink, nothing. The 
doctor s fee is four and sixpence, and you need not consult him 
much. Ascertain the proper course, and go on with it.' 

* But the living in the hotel ?' 

' It cost me four shillings per day, everything included, except a 
trifle for servants. Candles alone were extras, and I did not burn 
much of them, for I was glad to get to bed early. Wine I do not 
take, or that would have been an extra. You could not live very 
much cheaper at home.' 

' How I sliould like to go !' broke from the lips of Mr. Channing 



134 THE CHANNINQS. 

Hamisli came forward. *You must go, my dear father! It 
shall be managed.' 

* You speak hopefully, Hamish.' 
Hamish smiled. * I feel so, sh-.' 

* Do you feel so, also, my friend !' implored Dr. Lamb, fervently. 
* Go forth to the medicinal remedy as I did, in the full confidence 
that God can, and will, send His blessing upon it.' 



CHAPTER XVIIl. 

MR. JENKINS ALIVE AGAIN. 



The quiet of Sunday was over, and Helstonleigh awoke on the 
Monday morning to the bustle of every-day life. Mr. Jenkins 
awoke, with others, and got up— not Jenkins the old bedesman, 
but his son Joseph, who had the grey mare for his wife. It was 
Mr. Jenkins's intention to resume his occupation that day, with 
Mr. Hurst's and Mrs. Jenliins's permission : the former's he might 
have defied ; the latters he dared not. However, he was on tlio 
safe side, for both had accorded it. 

Mrs. Jenkins was making breakfast in the small parlour behind 
licr hosiery shop, when her husband appeared. He looked all the 
worse for his accident. Poor Joe was one whom a little illness tokl 
upon. Thin, pale, and lantern-jawed at the best of times — indeed 
he was not unfrequently honoured with the nickname of * scare- 
crow ' — he looked now thinner and paler than ever. His tall, sha- 
dowy form seemed bent with the weakness induced by lying a few 
days in bed ; while his hair had been cut ofi" in three places at the top 
of his head, to give precedence to as many patches of white plaster. 

* A nice figure you'll cut in the oflBce, to-day, with those orna- 
ments on your cro^vn !' was IMrs. Jenkins's salutation. 

' I am thinking to fold this broadly upon my head, and tie it under 
ray chin,' said he, meekly, holding out a square, black silk hand- 
kerchief, which he had brought down in his hand. 

* That would not hide the patch upon your forehead, stupid !' 
responded Mrs. Jenkins. ' I believe you must have bumped upon 
the edge of every stair in the organ-loft, as you came down, to get 
so many different wounds !' she continued in a cross tone. * If you 
ever do such a senseless trick, again, you sha'n't stir abroad with- 
out me or tho maid at your back, to take care of yon ; I prcmiso 
you that 1* 



THE CHANNINGS. 186 

'I havo combed my hair over the place upon my forehead!* 
civilly rcplipd Mr. Jenkins. ' I don't think it Bhows much.* 

' And made yourself look like an owl ! I thought it was nothing 
less than a stuffed owl coming in. Why can't you wear your hat ? 
That would hide your crown and your forehead also.* 

' I did think of that ; and I dare say Mr. Galloway would allow 
me to do it, and pardon the disrespect in consideration of the cir- 
cumstances,' answered Jenkins. *I3ut tlien, I thought again, sup- 
pose the dean should chance to come into the oflBce to-day ? — or 
any of the canons ? There's no telling hut they may. I could not 
keep my hat on in their presence ; and I should not like to take it 
off, and expose the plasters.* 

* You'd frighten them away, if you did,' said Mrs. Jenkins, dash- 
ing some water into the teapot. 

* Therefore,' he added, when she had finished speaking, * I think 
it will bo better to put on this handkerchief. People do wear such, 
when suffering from neuralgia, or from toothache.' 

* Law ! wear it, if you like ! what a fuss you make about nothing ! 
If you clioso to go with your head wrapped up in a blanket, no- 
body would look at you.' 

* Very true,' meekly coughed Mr. Jenkins. 

'Wliat are you doing with your bacon?' irascibly demanded 
Mrs. Jenkins, perceiving that of two slices, which she had put 
upon his plate, ho was surreptitiously conveying one back to the 
dish. 

' I am not hungry this morning. I cannot eat it.' 

' I say you shall eat it. "What next ? Do you think you are 
going to famish yourself?' 

' My appetite will come back to me in a morning or two,* he do* 
precatingly observed. 

' It is back quite enough for that bacon,' was the answer. * Come I 
I'll have it eaten.' 

She ruled him in everything, as she would a child ; and, appetite 
or no appetite, Mr. Jenkins had to eat the bacon. Then he pre- 
pared for his departure. The black silk square was tied on, so as 
to cover the damages ; the hat was well drawn over the brows, and 
Mr. Jenkins started. AVhen Mr. Galloway entered his office that 
rcommg, which he did earlier than usual, there sat Mr. Jenkins iu 
his usual place, copying a lease. 

He looked glad to see his old clerk. It is pleasant to welcome 
un accustomed face after an absence. * Are you sure you are equal 
to work, Jenkins ?' 



136 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Quite so, sir, thank you. I had a little fever at first, and Mr 
Hurst was afraid of that ; but it has entirely subeided. Beyond 
being a trifle sore on the head, and stiff at the elbows and one hip, 
I am quite myself again.' 

* 1 was sorry to hear of the accident, Jenkins,' Mr. Galloway 
resumed. 

' I was as vexed at it as I could be, su-. "When I first came to 
myself, I hardly knew what damage was done ; and the uncertainty 
of my getting to business, perhaps for weeks, did worrit me much 
I don't deny, too, that I have been in a little pain ; but oh, sir 1 it 
was worth its happening ! it was indeed ; only to experience the 
kindness and good fellowship that have been shown me. I am sure 
half the town has been to see me, or to ask after me. 

* I hear you have had your share of visitors.' 

* The bishop himself came,' said poor Jenkins, grateful tears ris- 
ing to his eyes in the intensity of his emotion. * He did, indeed, 
sir. He came on the Friday, and groped his way up our dark 
stairs (for very dark they are when Mr. Harper's sitting-room door 
is shut), and sat down by my bedside, and chatted, just as plainly 
and familiarly as if he had been no better than one of my own ac- 
quaintances. Mr. Arthur Channing found him there when he came 
\nth your kind message, sir.' 

' So I heard,' said Mr. Galloway. ' You and the bishop were both 
in the same boat. I cannot, for my part, get at the mystery of that 
locking-up business.' 

' The bishop as good as said so, sir — that we had both been in it. 
I was trying to express my acknowledgments to his lordship for his 
condescension, apologizing for my plain bed-room, and the dark 
stairs, and all that, and saying, as well as 1 knew how, that the 
like of me was not worthy of a visit from him, when he laughed, in 
his affable way, and said, "We were both caught in the trap, Jen- 
kins. Had I been the one to receive personal injury, I make no 
doubt that you would have come the next day to inquire after me." 
What a great thing it is, to be blessed with a loving, benevolent 
heart, like the Bishop of Helstonleigh I' 

Arthur Channing came in and interrupted the conversation. He 
was settling to his occupation, when Mr. Galloway drew his atten- 
tion ; in a very abrupt, angry manner, as it struck Arthur : — 

* Channing, you told me, yesterday, that you posted that lette" 
for Ventnor on Friday.' 

' So I did, sir.' 

* It has been robbed.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 137 

* Robbed !' returned Arthur, in surprise, scarcely catching imme- 
diately the meaning of the word. 

' You know that it contained money— a £20 note. You saw mo 
put it in.' 
' Yes — I — know— that,' hesitated Arthur. 
' What are you stammering at ?' 

In good truth, Arthur could not have told, except that he hesi- 
tated in surprise. He had cast his thoughts back, and was lost in 
them. 

' The fact is you did not post the letters yourself,' resumed Mr. 
Galloway. 'You gave them to somebody else to post, in a fit ol 
idleness, and the result is, that the letter was rifled, and I have lost 
£20.' 

' ' Sir, I assure you, that I did post them myself,' replied Arthur, 
with firmness. ' I went direct from this door to the post-office. In 
coming baclf, I called on Jenkins ' — turning to him — ' as you bade 
rac, and afterwards I returned straight here. I mentioned to you, 
then, sir, that the bishop was with Jenkins.' 

Mr. Jenkins glanced up from his desk, a streak of colour illumin- 
ing his thin cheek, half hidden by the black handkerchief. ' 1 was 
just saying, sir, to Mr. Galloway, that you found his lordship at my 
bed-side,' he said to Arthur. 

'Has the note been taken out of the letter, sir?' demanded 
Arthur. * Did the letter get to its destination without it ?' 

' Yes,' replied Mr. Galloway, answering both questions. ' I had 
a few lines from Mr. Eobert Galloway yesterday morning, stating 
that the letter had arrived, but no bank-note was enclosed in it. 
Now, where is the note '?' 

' "Where can it be ?' reiterated Arthur. * The letter must have 
been opened in the transit. I declare to you, sir, that I put it 
safely into the post-office.' 

' It is a crying shame for this civilized country, that one cannot 
send a bank-note across the kingdom in a letter, but it must get 
taken out of it !' exclaimed Mr. Galloway, in his vexation. ' The 
puzzle to me is, how those thieves of letter-carriers happen just to 
pitch upon the light letters to open, those that contain money !' 

He went into his private room as he spoke, banging the door 
after him, a sure symptom that his temper was not in a state of equani- 
mity, and not hearing or seeing Eoland Yorke, who had entered, 
and was wishing him good morning. 

'What's amiss? he seems in a tantrum,' ejaculated Mr. Eoland, 
with his customary scant ceremony. ' Hallo, Jenkins ; is it really 



188 THE CHANNINaS. 

you? By the accounts brought here, I tbouglit you were not 
going to have a head on jour shoulders for six months to ecu: o. 
Glad to see you.' 

* Thank you, sir. I am thankful to say I have got pretty well 
over the hurt.' 

' Roland,' said Arthur, in a half-whisper, bringing his head close 
to his friend's, as they leaned together over the desk, * you remem- 
ber that Ventnor letter, sent on Friday, with the money in it—' 

' Ventnor letter !' interrupted Eoland. ' What Ventnor letter ?' 

* The one for Eobert Galloway. Hamish was looking at it. It 
had the £20 note in it.' 

* For Ventnor, was it ? I did not notice what place it was bound 
for. That feliow, the cousin Galloway, changes his place of abode 
like the wandering Jew. What of the letter?' 

* It has been robbed of the note.' 
*No!' uttered Roland. 

* It has. The cousin says the letter reached him, but the note did 
not. Mr. Galloway seems uncommonly put out. He accused me> 
at first, of not taking it myself to the post. As if I should confide 
letters of value to anybody not trustworthy !' 

*Did you post it yourself?' asked Roland. 

* Of course I did. When you were coming in, after playing 
truant on Friday afternoon, I was going then. You might have 
seen the letters in my hand.' 

Roland shook his head. ' I was in too great a stew to notice 
letters, or anything else. This will cure Galloway of sending bank- 
notes in letters. Have the post-ofiBce people had news of the loss 
sent to them ? They must hunt up the thief.' 

*Mr. Galloway is sure to do all that's necessary,' remaikcd 
Arthur. 

* For my part, if I sent bank-notes across the country in letters, 
I should expect them to get taken. I wonder at Galloway. He is 
cautious in other things.' 

Others had wondered at Mr. Galloway, besides Roland Yorke. A 
man of caution, generally, he yet persisted in the practise of enclos- 
ing bank-notes in letters — whole notes, too, not halves. Persons 
cognizant of this habit had remonstrated with him ; not his clerks 
— of course they had not presumed to do so. Mr. Galloway, who 
liked his own way, had become somewhat testy upon the point, and, 
not a week previous to the present time, had answered in a sort of 
contradictory spirit that his money-letters had always gone safely 
hitherto, and he made no doubt they always would go safely. The 



Ji 



THE CHANNINGS. 139 

present loss, therefore, coming as it were, to check his obstinacy, 
vexed him more than it would otherwise have done. He did not 
care for the loss of the money half so much as he did for the tacit 
reproof to himself. 

' I wonder if Galloway took the number of the note ?' cried Roland. 
* Whether or not, though, it would not serve him much : bank- 
notes lost in transit never come to light.' 

* Don't they, though ?' retorted Arthur. * Look at the many 
convictions for post-office robbery !' 

' I do not suppose that one case in ten is tracked home,' disputed 
Koland. 'They are regular thieves, those letter-carriers. But, 
then, the fellows are paid so badly.' 

' Do not be so sweeping in your assertions, Koland Yorke,' inter- 
posed Mr. G alloway, coming forward from his private room. ' How 
dare you so asperse the letter-carriers ? They are a hard-working, 
quiet, honest body of men. Yes, sii' ; honest — I repeat it. Where 
one has yielded to temptation, fingering what was not his own, 
hundreds rise superior to it, retaining their integrity always. I 
would advise you not to be so free with your tongue.' 

Not to bo free with his tongue would have been hard to Eoland. 

' Lady Augusta was sending a box of camomile pills to some friend 
in Ireland, the other day, sir, but it was never heard of again, after 
she put it into the post-office, here,' cried ho to Mr. Galloway. 
' The fellow who appropriated it no doubt thought he had got a 
prize of jewels. I should like to have seen his mortification when 
he opened the parcel and found it contained pills ! Lady Augusta 
eaid she hoped he had the liver complaint, and then they might be 
of service to him.' 

Mr. Galloway made no response. He had caught up a lease that 
was lying on Jenkins's desk, and stood looking at it with no 
pleasant expression of countenance. On went that undaunted 
Eoland : — 

' The next thing Lady Augusta had occasion to send by post 
was a gold cameo pin. It was enclosed in a pasteboard box, and, 
when packed, looked just like the parcel of pills. I wrote pills on 
it, in great round text-hand. That reached its destination safely, 
sir.' 

* Safer than you would, if it depended upon you pursuing your 
business steadily,' retorted Mr. Galloway to Eoland. ' Fill in that 
tithe paper.' 

As Eoland, with a suppressed yawn, and in his usual lazy manner, 
Bet himself to the work indicated, there came a clatter at the office* 



140 THE CHANNINGS, 

door, and a man entered in the uniform of a telegrapliic official, 
bearing a despatch in his hand. Mr. Galloway had then turned to 
his own room, and Eoland, ever ready for anything but work, started 
up and received the packet from the man. 

* Where's it from ?' asked he, in his curiosity. 

* Southampton,' replied the messenger. 

' A telegram from Southampton, sir,' announced Eoland to Mr. 
Galloway. 

The latter took the despatch, and opened it, directing Jenkins to 
sign the paper. This done, the messenger departed. The words of 
the messenger were very few, but Mr. Galloway's eye was bending 
upon them sternly, and his brow had knitted, as if in perplexity. 

* Young gentlemen, you must look to this,' he said, coming 
forward, and standing before Eoland and Arthur. ' I find that the 
post-office is not to blame for this loss ; that it must have occurred 
here, in this room, before the letter went near the post-office.' 

They both looked up, both coloured red, as if with inward con- 
sternation. Thoughts, we all know, are quick as lightning : what 
was each thinking of, that it should give rise to emotion ? Arthur 
was the first to speak. 

' Do you allude to the loss of the bank-note, sir ?' 

* What else should I be likely to allude to ?" sharply answered 
Mr. Galloway. 

' But the post-office must be cheeky to deny it ofi'-hand i' flashed 
Eoland. ' How is it possible that they can answer for the honesty 
of every man whose hands that letter passed through ?' 

* Pray who told you they had denied it, Mr. Eoland Yorkc ?' 
demanded his master. 

Eoland felt a little checked. ' I inferred it, sir.' 

' I daresay. Then allow me to tell you that they have not denied 
it. And one very cogent reason why they have not, is, that they 
are not yet cognizant of the loss. I do not jump at conclusions 
as you do, Eoland Yorke, and I thought it necessary to make a 
little private inquiry before accusing the post-office, lest the post- 
office might not bo in fault, you know.' 

' Quite right, I have no doubt, sir,' replied Eoland, in a chafed 
accent, for Mr. Galloway was speaking satirically, and Eoland 
never liked to have ridicule cast to him. Like old Ketch, it stung 
his temper. 

*By this communication,' touching the telegraphic; despatch, 
* I learn that the letter was not opened after it left this office,' 
resumed IVlr. Galloway. /Consequently, the note must have been 



THE CHANNINGS. Ill 

jtbstractod from it while the letter lay here. Who has been guilty 
of it?' 

Neither Arthur nor Eoland spoke. It was not a pleasant accu ■ 
sation — if you can call it an accusation — and the red on their faces 
deepened to scarlet ; while Mr. Jenkins looked up half terrified, 
and began to think, what a mercy it was that he had broken hia 
head, just that last particular Thursday night, on the marble flagi 
of the cathedral. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

THE LOSS. 

When money is lost out of an office, suspicion very frequently falls 
upon one or more of that office's employes. Mr. Galloway's doubts, 
however, had not yet extended to those employed in his. Th i 
letter containing the bank-note had been despatched to Mr. Eobort 
Galloway, at Ventnor, on the Friday. On the Sunday morning, 
while Mr. Galloway was at breakfast, a short answer was delivered 
to him from his cousin : — ' Your letter has reached me, but not the 
note ; you must have omitted to put it in,' was the news it con- 
tained relative to that particular point. Mr. Galloway knew that 
he had put the note in ; there was little doubt that both his clerks 
could testily that he had put it in, fur he did it in their presence. 
How could it have been taken out? Had it been abstracted while 
the letter was still in his office ? — or in its conveyance to the post ? 
—or in its transmission to Ventnor ? ' If in the office,' argued Mr. 
Galloway, ' it must have been done before I sealed it : if afterwards, 
that seal must have been tampered with, probably broken. I'll 
drop a note to Robert, and ask the question.' He rose from his 
breakfast and penned a line to Southampton, where, as he had 
reason to believe, Mr. Robert Galloway would be on the Monday. 
It was not Mr. Galloway's habit to write letters on a Sunday, but 
he deemed that the present occasion justified the deed. ' I did put the 
note in the letter,' he wrote. ' Send me word instantly whether the 
seal had been tampered with. I stamped it with my private seal.* 
.Mr. Robert Galloway received this on the Monday morning. He 
did not wait for the post, but forwarded the reply by telegraph — 
* The seal had not been broken. Will send you back the envelope 
by first post.' This was the despatch which you saw Mr. Galloway 
receive in his office. 



142 THE CHAUNINGS. 

He went back into his private room, carrying the despatch uith 
him, and tlierc he sat down to think. From the very first, he had not 
believed the fraud to lie with the post-office — for this reason : had 
the note been abstracted by one of its servants, the letter would 
have been almost sui-e not to have reached its destination ; it would 
have disappeared with the note. He had cast a doubt as to 
whether Arthur Channing had posted the letters himself. Arthur 
assured him that he had, and Mr. Galloway believed him ; the 
information that the seal of the letter was unbroken was now 
a further confirmation, had he needed it. At least, it was a con- 
firmation that the letter had not been opened after it quitted the 
office. Mr. Galloway perfectly remembered fastening down the 
letter. He put the bank-note in, wet the gum, and stuck it down. 
He probably would have sealed it then, but for the commotion 
that arose at that same moment in the street caused by Mad Nance 
There could be no shadow of doubt, so far as Mr. Galloway could 
see, and so far as he believed, that the abstraction had taken place 
Detween the time of his gumming down the envelope and of his 
sealing it. Who had done it ? 

* I'll lay a guinea I know how it happened !' he exclaimed to 
himself. *Channing was at college— I must have given him 
permission in a soft moment to take that organ, or I should 
never have done it, quitting the office daily ! — and, Yorke, in 
his indolent carelessness, must have got gossiping outside, leav- 
ing, it is hard to say who, in the office ! This comes of poor 
Jenkins's fall !' 

Mr. Galloway rang his table bell. It was answered by Jenkins. 
Send Mr. Arthur Channing in,' said Mr. Galloway. 

Arthur entered, in obedience. Mr. Galloway made a sign to 
him to close the door, and then spoke. 

' This is an awkward business, Channing.' 

' Very awkward, indeed, sir,* replied Arthur, at no loss to under- 
stand what Mr. Galloway alluded to. ' I do not see that it was 
possible for the note to have been taken from the letter, except in 
its transmission through the post.' 

* I tell you it was taken from it before it left this office,' tartly 
returned Mr. Galloway. *I have my reasons for the assertion. 
Did you see me put the bank-notenin the letter?' 

* Of course I did, sir. I was standing by when you did it : I 
remained by you after bringing you the note from this room.' 

* I put the note inside, and fastened down the envelope,' said Mr. 
Galloway, pointing the feather of his quill pen at each proposi- 



THE CHANNINGS. 143 

tioa. ' I did not seal it then, for the looking at Mad Nance 
hindered me, and I went out, leaving the letter on Jenkins's 
desk, in your charge and Yorke's.' 

' i"es, sir. I placed the letter in tlie rack in your room, imme- 
diately afterwards.' 

* And, pray, what loose acquaintances did you and Yorke get in 
here that afternoon ?' 

* Not any,' replied Arthur. * I do not know when the oflBce was 
so free from callers. No person whatever entered it, except my 
brother Hamish.' 

* That's all nonsense,' said Mr. Galloway. * You are getting to 
speak as incautiously as Yorke. How can you tell who came here 
when you were at college ? Yorke would be alone, then.' 

'No, Yorke was not,' Arthur was beginning. But he stopped 
suddenly and hesitated. He did not care to tell Mr. Galloway 
that Yorke had played truant all that afternoon. Mr. Galloway 
saw his hesitation, and did not like it. 

' Come, -what have you to conceal ? You and Yorke held a 
levee here, I suppose ? That's the fact. You had so many chapH 
in here, gossiping, that you don't know who may have meddled 
with the letter ; and when you were off to college, they stopped 
with Yorke.' 

* No, sir. For one thing, I did not take the organ that after- 
noon. I went, as usual, but Mr. Williams was there himself, so I 
came back. I was only away about ten minutes.* 

* And how many did you find with Yorke ?' 

* Yorke stepped out to speak to somebody just before I went to 
college,' replied Arthur, obliged to allude to it, but determined to 
say as little as possible. * Hamish was here, sir ; you met him 
coming in as you were going out, and I got him to stay in the 
ofBce till I came back.' 

'Pretty doings!' retorted Mr. Galloway. 'Hindering the time 
of Mr. Hamish Channing, that you and Yorke may kick up your 
heels ! Nice trustworthy clerks, both of you !' 

*I was obliged to go to college, sir,' said Ai-thur, in a tone of 
deprecation. 

* Was Yorke obliged to go out ?' 

* I was back again very shortly, I assure you, sir,' said Arthur, 
passing by the remark. ' And I did not quit the office again untii 
you sent me to the post. 

* Stop !' said Mr. Galloway ; 'let me clearly understand. As 1 
went out, Hamish came in. Then, you say, Yorke went out ; and 



Ill THE CHANNmaS. 

you, to get to college, left Hamisli keeping office ! Did anybo^l^ 
oise come in besides Hamisli ?' 

*Not any one. When I returned from college I inquired d 
Ilaraish who had called, and he said nobody had called. Lady 
Augusta Yorke drove up then, and Hamish went away with her» 
She was going to the missionary meeting.' 

' And you persist in saying that nobody came in, after that ?' 

* Nobody did come in, sir.' 

' Very well. Send Yorke to me.' 

Eoland made his appearance, a pen behind his ear, and a ruler 
in his hand. 

' More show than work !' sarcastically exclaimed Mr. Galloway. 
'Now, sir, I have been questioning Mr. Arthur Channing about 
this unpleasant business, for I am determined to come to the 
bottom of it. I can get nothing satisfactory from him ; so I must 
try what I can do with you. Have the goodness to tell me how 
you spent your time on Friday afternoon.' 

' On Friday ? — let's see,' began Eoland, out of his wits with 
perplexity as to how he should hide his afternoon's absence from 
Mr. Galloway. ' It's difficult to recollect what one does on one 
particular day more than on another, sir.' 

' Oh, indeed ! Perhaps, to begin with, you can remember the 
circumstance of my putting the bank-note in the letter. I went 
into the other room to consult a "Bradshaw " ' 

' I remember that quite well, sir,' interrupted Eoland. ' Chan- 
ning fetched the bank-note from this room, and you put it in. It 
was just before we were all called to the window by Mad Nance.' 

' After that ?' pursued Mr. Galloway. 

' After that ? I think, sir, you went out after that, and Hamish 
Channing came in.' 

' Who else came in ?' 

* I don't remember anybody else,' answered Roland, v/ishing 
somebody would come in then, and stop the questioning. No such 
luck, however. 

' How many people called in, while Channing was at college, and 
you were keeping office T demanded Mr. Galloway. 

* Eoland fidgeted, first on one leg, then on the other. He felt 
that it must all come out. * What a passion he'll go into with me i' 
thought Eoland. ' It is certain that nobody can have touched the 
bank-note in this office, sir,' he said aloud. ' Thoso poor, half- 
starved postmen must have helped themselves to.it.' 

' When T ask for your opinion upon ' ' who has helped the 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 115 

Bclves to it," it will be time enough to give it me,' letnraed Mr, 
ftalloway, drily. ' I say that the money was abstracted from the 
letter before it left this office, when it was under the charge of 
you and Channing. 

' I hope you do not suspect us of taking it, sir !' said Roland, 
going into a heat. 

* I suspect that you have been guilty of negligence in some way, 
Mr. Eoland. Could the bank-note drop out of the letter of itself?' 

' I suppose it could not, sir.' 

* Good ! Then it is my business to ascertain, if I can, how it did 
get out of it. You have not answered my question. Who came 
into this office, while Channing was at the cathedral, on Friday 
afternoon ?' 

' I declare nobody ever had such luck as I,' burst forth Eoland, 
in a tone half comic, half defiant, as he felt he must make a merit 
of necessity, and confess. ' If I get into the smallest scrape in the 
world, it is safe to come out. The fact is, sir, I was not here, la«t 
Friday afternoon, during Channing's hour for college.' 

'What! not at all?' exclaimed Mr. Gallov^ay, who had not 
suspected Yorke was absent so long. 

*As I say, it's my luck to get found out!' grumbled Eoland. 
'I can't Uft a finger to-day, if it ought not to be lifted, but it 
gets known to-morrow. I saw one of my chums going past the 
end of the street, sir, and I ran after him. And I am sorry to say 
I got seduced into stopping out with him longer than I ought.' 

Mr, Galloway stared at Eoland. ' At what time did you go out ? 
he asked. 

* Just after you did, sir. The bell was going for college.' 

* And pray what time did you come in ?' 

' Well, sir, you saw me come in. It was getting on for five 
o'clock.' 

* Do you mean to say you had not been in at all, between those 
times ?* 

* It was Knivett's fault,' grumbled Eoland. ' He kept me.' 

Mr. Galloway sat drumming on his desk, apparently gazing at 
Eoland ; in reality thinking. To hear that Mr. Eoland Yorke had 
taken French leave for nearly a whole afternoon's holiday, just on 
the especial afternoon that he ought not to have taken it— Jenkins 
being away — did not sui-prise him in the least ; it was very much 
in the line of the Yorkes to do so. To scold or punish Eoland for 
it, would have been productive of little good, since he was sure tc 
do it :ig,un on the first temptation that offered. Failing the 

L 



146 THE CHANNINGS. 

temptation, he would stop at Lis post steadily enough. No,- it 
was not the escapade of Eoland tha.t Mr, Gallow ay was consider- 
ing ; but the very narrow radius that the affair of the letter ap- 
peared to be drawing itself into. If Eoland was absent, he could 
not have had half the town in, to chatter ; and if Arthur Channing 
asserted that none had been in, Mr. Galloway could give credence 
to Arthur. But then— how had the money disappeared? "Who 
had got it ? 

' Channing !' he called out, loudly and sharply. 

Arthur, who was preparing to attend the cathedral, for the bell 
had rung out, hastened in. 

' How came you not to tell me when we were speaking of 
Eoland Yorke's absence, that he remained away all the afternoon ?' 
questioned Mr. Galloway. 

Arthur was silent. He glanced once at Eoland. 

' Well ?' cried Mr. Galloway. 

It was better for him to tell you himself, sir ; as I conclude ho 
has now done.' . 

' The fact is, you are two birds of a feather,' stonned Mr. Gallo- 
way, who, when he did get into an angry temper, whicli was not 
often, was apt to say anything that came uppermost, just or unjust. 
' The one won't tell tales of the other. If the one set my office on 
fire, and then said it was the cat did it, the other would stick to it. 
Is it time, sir, that he was not at the office during my absence 
from it on Friday afternoon?' he continued to Arthur. 

' That is true.' 

* Then who can have taken the money ?' uttered Mr. Galloway, 
speaking what was uppermost in his thoughts. 

' Which is as much as to say that I took it,' burst from haughty 
Eoland. ' Mr. Galloway, I ' 

' You just keep your tongue quiet, Eoland Yorke,' interrupted 
that gentleman. * I do not suspect you of taking it. I did suspect 
that you might have got some idlers in here, 7nauvais sujets^ you 
know, for you call plenty of them friends ; but, if you were absent 
yourself, that suspicion falls to the ground. Again I say, who can 
have taken the money ?' 

* It is an utter impossibility that Yorke could have taken it, even 
were he capable of such a thing,' generously spoke Arthur. * From 
the time you quitted the office yourself, sir, until after the letters 
were taken out of it to be conveyed to the post, he was away 
from it 

'Just like him!' exclaimed Mr. GallowaT. 'It must Iiave leeu 



THE CHA2fNINGS. 147 

(Icmc while your brother Hamish was waiting in the office. Wo 
must ascertain from him who came in.' 

* He told me nobody came in,' repeated Arthur. 

Tiubbish!' testily observed Mr. Galloway. 'Somebody must 
have come in ; somebody with light fingers, too ! the money could 
not go without hands. You are off to college now, I suppose, 
Channing ?' 

* Yes, sir.' 

'When service is over, just go down as far as your brother's 
office, and ask him about it.' 

* He is as obstinate as any old adder !' exclaimed Eoland Yorke 
to Arthur, when they left Mr. Galloway alone. ' The only possible 
way in which it can have gone, is through that post-office. The 
men have forked it ; like they did Lady Augusta's pills.' 

' He says it was not the post-office,' mused Arthur. ' He said — 
as I understood— that the telegraphic despatch proved to him that 
it had been taken out here.' 

* What an idiot you are !' ejaculated Eoland. ' How could a 
despatch tell him who took it, or who did not ? — unless it was a 
despatch from those spirit-rappers — mesmerists, or whatever they 
call themselves. They profess to show you who your grandmother 
was, if you don't know !' 

Eoland laughed as he spoke. Arthur was not inclined for 
joking ; the affair perplexed him in no common degree. ' I wish 
Mr. Galloway would mention his grounds for thinking the note 
was abstracted before it went to the post !' he said. 

*He ought to mention them,' cried Eoland fiercely. *He says 
he learns, by the despatch, that the letter was not opened after it 
left this office. Now, it is impossible that any despatch could tell 
him that. He talks to me about broad assertions ! That's a pretty 
broad one. What did the despatch say ? who sent it ?' 

'Would it afford you satisfaction to know, Mr. Eoland.?' and 
Eoland wheeled round with a start, for it was the voice of 'Mv. 
Galloway. He had followed them into the front office, and caught 
the latter part of the conversation. ' Come, sir,' he added, ' I will 
teach you a lesson in caution. Wlien I have sealed letters that 
contained money after they were previously fastened down with 
gum, I have seen you tlirow your head back, Mr. Eoland, with 
that favourite scornful movement of yours. "As if gum did not 
stick them fast enough !" you have said in your heart. But now 
the fact of my having sealed this letter in question, enables me to 
say thaj; the letter was not opened after it Quitted my hands. Tho 

L 2 



148 THE CHANNINGS. 

despatch you are bo curious about was from my couBm, telliDg me 
that the seal reached him intact.' 

• I did not know the letter was sealed,' remarked Eoland. * But 
that proves nothing, sir. They might melt the wax, and seal it up 
again. Everybody keeps a stamp of this sort,' he added, stretch- 
ing his hand out for the seal ordinarily used in the office — a 
common cross-barred wafer stamp. 

' Ah,' said Mr. Galloway, * you are very clever, Master Eoland. 
But I happened to stamp that letter with my private seal.' 

' That alters the case, of course,' said Eoland, after a pause. 
* Sir, I wish you would set me to work to find out,' he impulsively 
continued. ' I'd go to the post-office, and ' 

'And make enough noise there for ten, and defeat your o-smi 
ends,' interrupted Mr. Galloway. 'Channing, you will be late. 
Do not forget to see Ilamish.' 

' Yes, I must be off,' said Arthur with a start, coming out of his 
reverie. He had waited to hear about the seal. And now flew 
towards the cathedral. 

* I wish it had not happened !' he ejaculated. ' I know Galloway 
does not suspect me or Yorke: but still I wish it had never 
happened I' 



CHAPTEE XX. 

THE LOOMING OF AN AWFUL FEAR. 



Hamish Channing sat in his private room ; his now ; for, in the 
absence of Mr. Channing, Hamish was master. The insurance 
office was situated in Guild Street, a principal street, near to the 
Town Hall. It consisted of an entrance hall, two rooms, and a 
closet for hanging up coats, and for washing hands. The room on 
the left of the hall, as you entered, was the principal office; the 
l-oom on the right of the hall, was the private room of Mr. 
Channing ; used, I say, by Hamish. The upper part of the house 
was occupied as a dwelling ; the family, renting it, having nothing 
to do with the office. It was a commodious house, and possessed a 
separate entrance. 

Hamish — gay, good-tempered, careless, though he was — ruled 
Ihe office with a firm hand. There was no familiarity of manner 
there ; the clerks liked him, but they had to defer to him, and 
obey him. He was seated at his desk, deep in some accounts, ok 



THE CHANNING8. . 149. 

this same morning — the one mentioned in the last chapter — when 
one of the clerks entered, and said that Mr. Arthur Channing was 
asking to speak to him : for it was Mr. Hamish Channing's good 
pleasure not to be interrupted indiscriminately, unless a clerk first 
ascertained whether he was at liberty to be seen. Possibly Hamish 
feared there might be treachery abroad. 

Arthur entered. Hamish pushed his books from before him, and 
stretched himself. ' Well, old fellow ! you seem out of breath.' 

' I came down at such a pace,' rejoined Arthur. ' College is 
Just over. I -say, Hamish, a disagreeable thing has happened at 
Galloway's. I have never seen him put out as he is now.' 

* Has his hair taken a change again, and come on a lovely roso 
colour ?' 

' I loisli you would not turn everything into joke,' cried Arthur, 
who was really troubled, and the words vexed him. ' You saw a 
letter on Jenkins's desk last Friday — the afternoon, you know, that 
Yorke went off, and you remained while I went to college ? There 
was a £20 note in it. Well, the note has, in some mysterious 
manner, been abstracted from it.' 

Hamish lifted his eyebrows. * What can Galloway expect, if ho 
sends bank-notes in letters ?' 

' Yes, but this was abstracted before it left our office. Galloway 
says so. He sealed it with his private seal, and the letter arrived 
at his cousin's intact, the seal unbroken — a pretty sure proof that 
the note could not have been in it when it was sealed.' 

' Who took it out ?' asked Hamish. 

' That's the question. There was not a soul near the place, that 
I can find out, except you and 1. Yorke was away, Jenkins was 
away, and Mr. Galloway was away. He says some one must have 
come in while you were in the office.' 

' There did not so much as a ghost come in,' said Hamish. 

* Are you sure, Hamish ?' 

* Sure ! I am sure they did not, unless I dropped asleep. Thai 
was not an unlikely catastrophe to happen ; shut up by myself in 
that dull office, amid musty parchments, with nothing to do.' 

'Hamish, can you be serious for once? This is a serious 
matter.' 

* Mr. Martin Pope wants you, sir,' said the clerk again, inter- 
rupting at this juncture. Martin Pope's face came in also, over the 
clerk's shoulder. It was red, and he looked in a hurry. 

* Hamish, he has had a letter, and is off by the half-past eleven 
txain,' spoke Martin Pope, in some excitement. ' You must rush 



160 THE OHANNINGS. 

up to tho Station, if you want a last word with him. You will 
hardly catck him, running your best. 

Up jumped Hamish, in excitement as great as his friend's. He 
shut down and locked the table-desk, caught his hat, and was 
speeding out of tho office, when Arthur to whom the wordj* had 
been a puzzle, laid hold of his arm. 

' Hamish, did any one come in ? It was Mr. Galloway sent me 
here to ascertain.' 

*No, they did not. Should I not tell you if they had? Take 
care, Arthur. I must fly like the wind. Come away, Pope !' 

Arthur walked back to Mr. Galloway's. That gentleman was 
out. Eoland Yorke was out. But Jenkins, upon whom the un- 
fortunate affair had taken great hold, lifted his face to Arthur, his 
eyes asking the question that his tongue scarcely presumed to do. 

* My brother says nobody came in while he was here. It is very 
strange !' 

* Mr. Arthur, sir, if I had repined at all at that accident, and felt 
it as a misfortune, how this would have reproved me!' spoke 
Jenkins in his simple faith. * Why, sir, it must have come to me 
as a mercy, a blessing ; to take me away out of this office at the 
time.' 

* What do you mean, Jenkins ?* 

* There's no telling, sir, but Mr. Galloway might have suspected 
me. It is the first loss we have had since I have been here, all 
these years ; and ' 

* Nonsense !' interrupted Arthur. * You may as well fear that 
Mr. Galloway will suspect me, or Mr. Yorke.' 

* No, sir, you and Mr. Yorke are different ; you are gentlemen. 
Mr. Galloway would no more suspect you, than he would suspect 
himself. I am thankful I was absent.' 

* Be easy, Jenkins,' smiled Arthur. * Absent or present, every- 
body can trust you.' 

Mr. Galloway did not return imtil nearly one o'clock. He went 
straight into his own room. Arthur followed him. 

' I have seen Hamish, sir. He says no person whatever entered 
on Friday, while he was here alone.' 

Mr. Galloway paused, apparently revolving the news. * Hamish 
must be mistaken,' he answered. 

*He told me at the time, last Friday, that nobody had been in, 
resumed Arthur. 'I asked the question when I returned from 
college, thinking people might have called on business He said 
they had not ; and he says the same now * 




THE OHANNINGS. 151 

* But look you here, Arthur,' debated Mr. Galloway, in a tone of 
reasoning. * I suspect neither you nor Yorko ; indeed, as it seems, 
Yorke put himself out of suspicion's way, by walking off; but 
if nobody came to the office, and yet the note luent, remember 
the position in which you place yourself. I say I don't blame 
you, I don't suspect you ; but I do say that the mystery must bo 
cleared up. Are you certain no person came into the oflSce during 
your presence in it ?' 

' I am quite certain of that, sir. I have told you so.' 

* And is Hamish equally certain — that no ono entered while ho 
was here alone ?' 

* He says so.' But Arthur's words bore a sound of hesitation, 
which Mr. Galloway may or may not have observed. Ho would 
have spoken far more positively had Hamish not joked about it. 

* " Says " will not do for me,' retorted Mr. Galloway. * I should 
like to see Hamish. You have nothing particular to finish before 
one o'clock ; suppose you nm to Guild Street, and request him 
to come round this way, as ho goes homo to dinner ? It will not 
take him two minutes out of his road.' 

Arthur departed ; choosing the nearest way to Guild Street. It 
led him through the street which Hamish had been careful to 
avoid on account of a troublesome creditor. Arthur had no such 
fear. One o'clock struck as he tui'ned into it. About midway 
do^\-n it, what was his astonishment to encounter Hamish ! Not 
shnking along, dreading to be seen, but flourishing leisurely at hia 
ease, nodding to everybody he knew, his sweet smile in full play, 
and his cane whirling circlets in the air. 

* Hamish ! I thought this was forbidden gi'ound !' 

* So it was, until a day or two ago,' laughed Hamish ; * but I liavo 
managed to charm the enemy.' 

He spoke in his usual light, careless, half-mocking style, and 
passed his arm within Arthurs. At that moment a shopkeeper 
came to his door, and respectfully touched his hair — for he wore 
no hat — to Hamish. Hamish nodded in retui-n, and laughed again 
as he walked on with Arthur. 

' That was the very fiercest enemy in all this street of Philistines, 
Arthur. See how civil he is now.' 

* How did you " charm " him ?' 

*0h, by a i^rocess known to myself. Did you come down on 
purpose to escort me homo to dinner ? Yery polite of you !' 

* I came to ask you to go round by Mr. Galloway's office, and to 
crdl in and see him. He will not believe you at second hand. 



162 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Believe what ?' asked Hamish. 

* That the office had no visitors while you were taking care of it, 
Ihe other day. That money affair grows more mysterious every 
hour.' 

* Then I have not the time to go round,' exclaimed Hamish, in — 
for him— quite a cross accent. * I don't know anything about the 
money or the letter. Why should I be bothered ?' 

'Hamish, you must go,' said Arthur, impressively. *Do you 
know that — so far as can be ascertained — no human being was in 
the office alone with the letter, save you and I. Were we to shmi 
inquiry, the suspicion might fall upon us.' 

Hamish drew himself up haughtily, somewhat after the fashion 
of Koland Yorke. * What absurdity, Arthur ! steal a £20 note !' 
But, when they came to the turning where two roads met, one of 
which led to Close Street, Hamish had apparently reconsidered his 
determination. 

* I suppose I must go, or the old fellow will be offended. You can 
tell them at home that I shall be in directly ; not to wait dinner.' 

He walked away quickly. Arthur pursued the path which 
would take him round the cathedral to the Boundaries. He bent 
his head in thought ; he was lost in perplexity ; in spite of what 
Mr. Galloway urged, with regard to the seal, he could not believe 
but what the money had gone safely to the post-office, and was 
abstracted afterwards. Thus busied within himself, he had reached 
the elm-trees, when he ran against Hopper, the bailiff. Arthur 
looked up, and the man's features relaxed into a smile. 

* We shut the door when the steed's stolen, Mr. Arthur,' was his 
salutation. * Now that I have got my pockets emptied of what 
would have done no good to your brother, I come here to meet him 
at the right time. Just to show folks — should any be about — that 
I did know my way here ; although it unfortunately fell out that I 
always missed him.' 

He nodded and winked. Arthur, completely at sea as to his 
meaning, made some trifling remark in answer. 

* He did well to come to terms with them,' continued Hopper, 
dropping his voice. 'Though it was but a five pound as I hear, 
^nd a promise for the rest, you see they took it. Ten times over, 
they said to me, " We don't want to proceed to extremities with 
Hamish Channing." I was as glad as could be when they withdrew 
the writ. I do hope he will go on smooth and straight now that 
he has begun paying up a bit. Tell him old Hopper says it, Mr, 
Arthur.' 




THE CHANNINGS. 155 

Hopper glided on, leaving Arthur glued to the spot. Begun to 
pay up ! Paid five pounds off one debt ! Paid (there could be no 
doubt of it) partially, or wholly, the 'enemy' in the proscribed 
street! What did it mean? Every drop of blood in Arthur. 
Channing's body stood still, and then coursed on with fiery violence. 
Had he seen the cathedral tower toppling down upon his head, ho 
had feared it lesus than the awful dread which was dawning upon 
him. 

He went home to dinner. Haraish went home. Hamisli was more 
gay and talkative than usual— Arthur was silent as the grave. What 
was the matter ? some one asked him. His head ached, was the 
answered plea ; and, indeed, it was no false one. Hamish did not 
say a syllable about the loss at table ; neither did Arthur. Arthur's 
tongue was tied now. 

It is useless to attempt to disguise the fear which had fallen 
upon him ; you, my reader, will probably have glanced to it as 
suspiciously as did Arthur Channing. Until this loophole ap- 
peared, the facts had been to Arthur's mind utterly mysterious; 
they now shone out all too apparent, in glaring colours. He knew 
that he himself had not touched the money, and no one else had 
l^en left with it, except Hamish. Debt ! what had the paltry fear 
of debt and its consequences been compared to this ? 

Mr. Galloway talked much of the mystery that afternoon ; Yorke 
talked of it ; Jenkins talked of it. Arthur barely answered ; never, 
except when obliged ; and his manner, confused at times, for he could 
not help its being so, excited the attention of Mr, Galloway. * One 
would think you had helped yourself to the money, Channing !' he 
crossly exclaimed to him once, when they were alone in the private 
room. 

'Xo, sir, I did not,' Arthur answered, in a low tone; but his 
face flushed scarlet, and then grew deadly pale. If a Channing, 
his brother, had done it — why, he felt himself almost equally guilty ; 
and it dyed his brow with shame. Mr. Galloway noticed the signs, 
and attributed them to the pain caused by his question. 

* Don't be foolish, Arthur. I feel sure of you and Yorke. Though, 
with Yorke's carelessness and his spendthrift habits, I do not know 
that I should have been so sure of him, had he been left alone with 
the temptation.' 

* Sir !' exclaimed Arthur, in a tone of pain, ' Yorke did not touch 
it. 1 would answer for his innocence with my life.' 

* Don't I say I do not suspect him, or you either?' testily returned 
Mr. Galloway. * It is the mystery of the aff'air that worries me. 



154 THE CHANNINGS. 

If no elucidation turns up, between now and to-morrow morniug, 1 
shall place it in the hands of the police.' 

The announcement scared away the precaution of Arthur ; nearly 
scared away his senses. * Oh ! pray, pray, Mr. Galloway, do not 
let the police become cognizant of it !' ho uttered, in an accent of 
wild alarm. And Mr. Galloway stared at him in very amazement ; 
and Jenkins, who had come in to ask a question, stared too. 

' It might not be productive of any good result, and would cause 
us no end of trouble,' Arthur added, striving to assign some 
plausible explanation of his words. 

' That is my aifair,' said Mr. Galloway. 

When Arthur reached home, the news had penolrated there. 
Mrs. Channing's tea-table was absorbed with it. Tom and Charles 
gave the school version of it, and the Eev. Mr. Yorke, who was taking 
tea with them, gave his. Both accounts were increased by sundry 
embellishments, which had never had place in reality. 

' Not a soul was ever near the letter,' exclaimed Tom, * except 
Arthur and Jenkins, and Eoland Yorke.' 

' The post-office must be to blame for this,' observed Mr. Chan- 
ning. 'But you are wrong, Tom, with regard to Jenkins. Ho 
could not have been there.' 

' Mark Galloway says his uncle had a telegraphic despatch, to 
say the post-office knew nothing about it,' exclaimed Charles. 

' Much you know about it, 3Iiss Charley !' quoth Tom. ^- The 
despatch was about the seal : it was not from the post-office at all. 
They have not accused the post-office yet.* 

Arthur let them talk on ; his headache the excuse for his own 
silence. It did ache, in no measured degree. AVhen appealed to, 
'Was it this way, Arthur?' 'Was it the other?' he was obliged 
to speak, so that an accurate version of the affair was arrived at, 
before tea was over. Constance alone saw that something unusual 
was the matter with him. She attributed it to fears at the absence 
of Hamish, who had been expected in to tea, and did not come. 
Constance's own fears at this absence grew to a terrific height. 
Had he been arrested V 

She beckoned Arthur from the room ; she could no longer con- 
trol herself. Her lips were white, as she drew him into the study, 
and spoke. ' Arthur, what has become of Hamish ? Has anything 
happened to him ?' 

'Happened to him!' repeated Arthur, vaguely, too absorbed in 
Lis own sad thoughts to reply at once, 

' Has — he — been — tahen f 



J 



THE CHANiilNGS. 155 

* Taken ! Hamish ? Oh, you mean for debt !' he continued hia 
heart beating, and fully aroused now. ' There is no further fear, 1 
believe. He has managed to arrange with the people.' 

' How has he contrived it ?' exclaimed Constance, in wonder. 

Arthur turned his face away. ' Hamish does not make me his 
confidant.' 

Constance stole her hand into his. * Arthur, what is the 
matter with you this evening? Is it that unpleasant affair at Mr. 
Galloway's ?' 

He turned from her. He laid his face upon the table and 
groaned in anguish. * Be still, bo still, Constance ! You can do no 
good.' 

' But ivhat is it ?' uttered Constance in alarm. * You surely do 
not fear that suspicion should be cast on you, or on Hamish — 
although, as it appears, you and he were alone in the office with the 
letter ?' 

' Be still, I say, Constance,' he wailed. ' There is nothing for it 
but to— to — to bear. You will do well to ask no more about it.' 

A faint dread began to dawn upon her. ' You and Hamish were 
alone with the letter !' the echo of the words came thumping against 
her brain. But she beat it off. Suspect a ChanningI 'Arthur, 
I need not ask if you are innocent ; it would be a gratuitous in- 
sult.* 

*No,' he quietly said, * you need not ask that. 

' And — Hamish ?' she would have continued, but the words stuck 
in her throat. She changed them for others. 

* How do you know that he has paid any of his debts, Arthur ?' 

* I heard it. I ' 

At that moment they heard something else — Hamish's voice in 
the hall. In the impulse of the moment, in the glad revulsion of 
feeling— for, if Hamish were safe in the hall, he could not be in 
prison — Constance flew to him, and clasped her hands round his 
neck. ' Oh, Hamish, Hamish ! thank heaven that you are come !' 

Hamish was surprised. He went with Constance into the study, 
where Arthur had remained. 'What do you mean, Constance? 
^V'hat is the matter ?' 

' I am always fearful,' she whispered ; * always fearful ; I know 
you owe money, and they might put you in prison. Hamish, I am 
thinking of it by night and by day.' 

' My pretty sister !' cried Hamish, caressingly, as he smoothed 
her hair, like Constance sometimes smoothed Annabel's, ' tJiat 
danger has for the present passed.' 



156 THE CHANNINGS. 

' If you wore arrested, papa might lose his situation,' she niur« 
mured. 

' I know it ; it is that which has worried me. I have been doing 
what I could to avert it. Constance, these things are not for you • 
who told you anything about them ?' 

' Never mind that. I ' 

' What will you give me for something 1 have found ?' exclaimed 
Annabel, bursting in upon them, her hands held behind her, and 
her eyes dancing. * It is one of your treasures, Hamish.' 

' Then give it me, Annabel. Come ! I am tired ; I cannot play 
with you this evening.* 

' I won't give it you till you guess what it is.' 

Ilamish was evidently in no mood for play. Annabel danced 
round and about him, provokingly eluding his grasp. He caught 
her suddenly, and laid his hands upon hers. With a shriek of 
laughing defiance, she flung something on the floor, and four or 
five sovereigns rolled about. 

It was Hamish's jporte-monnaie. She had found it on the hall 
table, by the side of his hat and gloves, left there most probably in 
inadvertence. Hamish stooped to pick up the money. 

* See how rich he is !' danced Annabel ; ' after telling us he was as 
poor as a church mouse ! Where has he got it from ?' 

Never had they seen Hamish more annoyed. When he had 
secured the money, he gave a pretty sharp tap to Annabel, and 
ordered her, in a tone of ringing command, not to meddle witli his 
things again. He quitted the room, and Annabel ran after him, 
laughing and defiant still. 

' Where has he got it from f The words, spoken in innocence by the 
child, rang like a knell on the ears of Constance and Arthur Chan- 
ning. Constance's very heart turned sick — sick as Arthur's had 
been since the meeting with Hopper, under the elm-trees. 



CHAPTEE XXL 

MR. BUTTERBY. 

The cathedral clock of Helstonleigh was striking eight, and 
the postman was going his rounds through the Boundaries. 
Formerly nothing so common as a regular postman, when on duty, 
was admitted within the pale of that exclusive place. The 
Boundaries, chiefly occupied by the higher order of the clergy, did 



J 



TUB CHANNIXaB. 167 

not condescend to have its letters delivered in the ordinary way, 
and by the ordinary hands. It was the custom for the postman 
to take them to the Boundary-gate, and there put them into the 
porter's great box, just as if he had been posting letters at the town 
post-office ; and the porter forthwith delivered them at their several 
destmations. The late porter, however, had grown, with years, half 
blind and wholly stupid. Some letters he dropped ; some he lost ; 
some he delivered at wrong houses ; some, he persisted in declaring, 
when questioned, had never been delivered to Mm. In short, the 
mistakes and confusion were incessant; so, the porter was 
exonerated from that portion of his duty, and the postman entered 
upon it. There was a fresh porter now, but the old custom had 
not been resumed. 

fling— ring — ring— ring— for one peculiarity of the Boundaries 
was, that most of its doors possessed no knockers, only bells— on 
he went, the man, on this morning, leaving letters nearly every- 
where. At length he came to Mr. Galloway's, and rang there a 
peal that it is the delight of a postman to ring ; but when the door 
was opened, he delivered in only one letter and a newspaper. The 
business letters were generally directed to the office. 

Mr. Galloway was half-way through his breakfast. He was no 
sluggard, and he liked to devote the whole hour, from eight to nine, 
to his breakfast and his Times. Occasionally, as on this morning, 
he would sit down before eight, so as to get nearly through his 
breakfast before the postman came. His servants knew by 
experience that, when this happened, he was expecting something 
unusual by the post. 

His man came in. He laid the letter and the newspaper by his 
master's side. Mr. Galloway tore open the Times, gave one glance 
at the price of funds and the money article, and then put the paper 
away and took up the letter. 

The latter was from his cousin, Mr. Eobert Galloway. It con- 
tained, besides the writing, the envelope in which Mr. Galloway 
had enclosed the £20 note. ' You perceive,' wrote Mr. Eobert, 
*that the seal has not been tampered with. It is perfectly intact. 
Hence I infer that you must be in error in supposing you put tho 
note into the letter.' 

Mr. Galloway examined the envelope closely. His cousin had not 
broken the seal in opening the letter, but had cut the paper above 
it. He was a methodical man in trifles, Mr. Eobert Galloway, and 
generally did cut his envelopes open. It had been all the better 
for him had h« learnt to be methodical with his money. 



108 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Yes ; it is as Robert says,' soliloquized Mr. Galloway. * The seal 
lias not been touched since it went out of my hands ; therefore the 
note must have been extracted from the letter previously. Now, 
who did it ?' 

He sat— his elbow on the breakfast table, his chin in his hand, 
and the envelope lying before him. Apparently, he was studying it 
minutely ; in reality he was lost in thought. ' It's just like the 
work of a conjuror !' he presently exclaimed. 'Not a strange soul 
near the place, that I can find out, and yet the bank-note vanishes 
out of the letter ! Notes don't vanish without hands, and I'll do as 
I said yesterday— consult the police. If anybody can come to the 
bottom of it, it's Butterby. Had the seal been broken, I should 
have given it in charge to the post-ofiSce to ferret out ; the crime 
would have lain with them, and so must the discovery. As it is, 
the business is mine.' 

He wrote a line rapidly in pencil, folded, called in his man- 
servant, and despatched him with it to the police-station. The 
station was very near ; it was situated on the other side of the 
cathedral, midway between that edifice and the town-hall. In ten 
minutes after the servant had left the house, Mr. Butterby w^as on 
his road to it. 

Mr. Butterby puzzled Helstonleigh. He was not an inspector, 
he was not a sergeant, he was not a common ofiicer, and he was 
never seen in official dress. Who was Mr. Butterby ? Helstonleigh 
wondered. That he had a great deal to do with the police, was 
one of their staff, and received his pay, was certain ; but, what 
his standing might be, and what his peculiar line of duty, they 
could not tell. Sometimes he was absent from Helstonleigh for 
months at a time, probably puzzling other towns. Mr. Galloway 
would have told you he was a detective ; but perhaps Mr. Gallo- 
way's grounds for the assertion existed but in his own opinion. 
For convenience-sake we will call him the detective ; remember- 
ing, however, that we have no warranty for it. 

jMr. Butterby came forward, a spare, pale man, of middle height, 
his eyes deeply set in his head, and his nose turned up to the skies. 
He was of silent habit ; probably, of a silent nature. 

Mr. Galloway recited the circumstances of his loss. The 
detective sat near, his hands upon his knees, his head bent, and 
his eyes cast upon the floor. He did not interrupt the story by a 
single word. When it was ended, he took up the envelope, and 
examined it in equal silence : examined it with ridiculous minute- 
ness, Mr. Galloway thought, for he poked, and peered, and 



Jl 



THE OHANNINGS. 159 

touclied it every wliere. He hold it up to the light, he studied the 
post-marks, he gazed at the seal through an odd-looking litilo 
glass that he took from his waistcoat pocket, he particularly 
criticised the folds, he drew his fingers along its edges, he actually 
Bmelt it— all in silence, and with a countenance entirely impassive. 

* Have you the number of the note T was his first question. 

* No,' said Mr. Galloway. 

He looked up at this : the thought may have struck him, that, not 
to take the number of a bank-note, sent by post, betrayed some 
carelessness for a man of busmess. Mr. Galloway, at least, inferred 
this to have caused the look, and answered it. 

* Of course I am in the habit of taking their numbers ; I don't 
know that I ever did such a thing before, as send a bank-note 
away without it. I had an appointment, as I tell you, at the other 
end of the town for a quarter before three ; it was of importance ; 
and, when I heard the college strike out the three-quarters — the 
very hour I ought to have been there — I hurriedly put the note in- 
side the folds of the letter, without waiting to take the number. It 
was not that I forgot to do so, but that I would not spare the time. 

' Have you any means of ascertaining the number, by tracing the 
note back to whence it may have come into your possession?' 
was the next question. 

Mr. Galloway was obliged to confess that he had not. * Bank- 
notes are so frequently paid me from different quarters,' he re- 
marked. ' Yesterday, for instance, a farmer, renting under the 
dean and chapter, came in, and paid me his half-year's rent. 
Another, holding the lease of a public-house in the town, renewed 
two lives which had dropped ; it was Beard, of the Barley Mow. 
Now, both these men paid in notes, tens and fives, and they lie 
together now in my cash drawer ; but I could not tell you which 
particular notes came from each man— no, not if you paid me the 
worth of tlie whole to do it. Neither could I tell whence I had 
the note which I put into the letter.' 

' In this way, if a note should turn out to be bad, you could not 
return it to its owner.' 

' I never took a bad note in my life,' said Mr. Galloway, speaking 
impulsively. * There's not a better judge of notes than myself in 
the kingdom ; and Jenkins is as good.' 

Another silence. Mr. Butterby remained in the same attitude, 
his head and eyes bent. ' Have you told mo all t?io partioolais '/ 
Lc presently asked. 

1 tliiuk so. All that I remember. 



I 



160 THE CHANNINGS. 

'Then allow me to go over them aloud,' returned the detective; 
' and, if I make any mistake or omission, have the goodness to 
correct me : — On Friday last you took a £20 note out of your cash 
drawer, not taking or knowing its number. This note you put 
within the folds of a letter, and placed both in an envelope, and 
fastened the envelope down, your two clerks, Channing and Yorke, 
being present. You then went out, leaving the letter upon one of 
the desks. As you left, Hamish Channing came in. Immediately 
following upon that, Yorke went out, leaving the brothers alone. 
Arthur departed to attend college, Hamish remaining in the office. 
Arthur Channing soon returned, finding there was no necessity for 
him to stay in the cathedral ; upon which Hamish left. Arthur 
Channing remained alone for more than an hour, nobody calling or 
entering the office during that period. You then returned yourself; 
found the letter in the same state, apparently, in which you had 
left it, and you sealed it, and sent Arthur Channing with it to the 
post-office. These are the brief facts, so far as you are cognisant 
of them, and as they have been related to you V 

* They are,' replied Mr. Galloway. ' I should have mentioned 
that Arthur Channing carried the letter into my private room 
Dcfore he quitted the office for college.' 

' Locking the door ?' 

' Oh dear no ! Closing the door, no doubt, but not locking it 
It would have been unusual to do so.' 

* Jenkins was away,' observed the detective in a tone of abstrac- 
tion, which told he was holding self-soliloquy, rather than address- 
ing his companion. Mr. Galloway rather fired at the remark, 
taking it in a light difi'erent from that in which it was spoken. 

'Jenkins was at home at the time, confined to his bed ; and, had 
he not been, I would answer for Jenkins's honesty as I would for 
my own. Can you see any possible solution to the mystery ?' 

' A very possible one,' was the dry answer. ' There is no doubt 
whatever upon my mind, that the theft was committed by Arthur 
Ohanning.' 

Mr. Galloway started up with an exclamation of surprise, mingled 
with anger. Standing within the room was his nephew Mark. 
The time had gone on to nine, the hour of release from school ; 
and, on running past Mr. Galloway's with the rest of the boys, 
Mark had dutifully called in. Mark and his brothers were par- 
ticularly fond of calling in, for their uncle was not stingy with liia 
sixpences, and they were always on the look-out. Mr. jiiark did 
uot get a sixpence this time. 




THE CHANNINGS. lul 

* ITow dare yon intrude upon me in this sun'eptitious way, sir ? 
Don't you see I am engaged ? I will have you knock at my room 
door before you enter. Take yourself off again, if you please !' 

Mark, with a word of deprecation, went oflf, his ears pricking 
with the sentence he had heard from the detective — Arthur Chan- 
ning the thief ! 

Mr. Galloway turned again to the officer. He resented the impu- 
tation. * The Channings are altogether above suspicion, from the 
father downwards,' he remonstrated. 'Were Arthur Channing 
dishonestly inclined he has had the opportunity to rob me long 
before this.' 

' Persons of hitherto honourable conduct, honest by nature and 
by habit, have succumbed under sudden temptation or pressing 
need,' was the answer. 

' Arthur Channing is in no pressing need. He is not hard up for 
money.' 

A smile actually curled the detective's stoical lip. *A great 
many more young men are hard up for money than they let appear 
on the surface. The Channings are in what may be called difficulty, 
through the failure of their Chancery suit, and the lad must have 
yielded to temptation.' 

Mr. Galloway could not be brought to see it. ' You may as well 
set on and suspect Hamish,' he resentfully said. * He was equally 
alone with the letter.' 

' No,' was the answer of the keen officer. * Hamish Channing is 
in a responsible position ; he would not be likely to peril it 
for a £20 note ; and ho could not know that the letter contained 
money.' Mr. Butterby was not cognizant of quite the strict facts, 
you see. 

' It is absurd to suspect Arthur Channing.' 

* Which is the most absurd — to suspect him, or to assume that 
the bank-note vanished without hands ? dried itself up to annihila- 
tion ? forced its own way through the letter and envelope, and 
disappeared up the chimney in a whirlwind.?' asked the officer, 
bringing sarcasm to his aid. ' If the facts be as they are stated, 
that only the two Channings had access to the letter, the guilt 
must lie with one of them. Facts are facts, Mr. Galloway.' 

Mr. Galloway admitted that facts luere facts, but he could not 
be brought to allow the guilt of Arthur Channing. The detective 
rose. 

' You have confided the management of this affair to me,' he 
observed, * and I make no doubt I shall be able to arrive at a satia^ 



162 , THE OHANNINGS. 

factoiy conclusion. One more question I must ask you. Is it 
known to your clerks that you have not the number of the note ? 
' Yes, it is.' 

* Then I fear you stand little chance of ever seeing it again. 
'That fact known, no time would he lost in parting with it ; they'd 
make haste to get it safe off.' 

Not an instant did Mr. Butterby take for consideration upon 
quitting Mr. Galloway. With a sharp, unhesitating step, as though 
his mind had been made up for a month past as to what his course 
must be, he took his way direct to the" house of Mr. Joe Jenkins. 
That gentleman, his head tied up yet, was just leaving for the 
office, and Mr. Butterby encountered him coming through the 
shop. 

' Good morning, Jenkins. I want a word with you alone.' 

Jenkins bowed, in his civil, humble fashion ; but * a word alone * 
was more easily asked than had, Mrs. Jenkins being all-powerful, 
and burning with curiosity. The officer had to exert some autho- 
rity before he could get rid of her, and be left at peace with Jen- 
kins. 

' What sources of expense has Arthur Channing ?' demanded he, 
so abruptly as to startle and confuse Jenkins. 

' Sources of expense, sir ?' he repeated. 

* What are his habits ? Does he squander money ? Does he get 
out in an evening amidst expensive company ?' 

*rm sure, sir, I cannot tell any thing about it,' Jenkins was 
mildly beginning. He was imperatively interrupted by the de- 
tective. 

* I ask to know. You are aware that I possess authority to com- 
pel you to speak ; therefore, answer me without excuse or circum- 
locution ; it will save trouble.' 

' But indeed, sir, I really do not know,' persisted Jenkins. * I 
should judge Mr. Arthur Channing to be a steady, well-conducted 
young gentleman, who has no extravagant habits at all. As to his 
evenings, I think he spends them mostly at home.' 

* Do you know whether he has any pressing debts ?' 

'I heard him say to Mr. Yorke one day, that a twenty-pound 
note would pay all he owed, and leave him something out of it, 
spoke Jenkins in his unconscious simplicity. 

' Ah !' said Mr. Butterby, drawing in his lips, though his face 
remained impassive as before. ' When was this ?' 

* Not long ago, sir. About a week, it may have been, before I 
met with that accident — which accident, I begin to see now, Bir 



THE CHANNINGS. 163 

happened prDvidentially, for it caused me to be away from tlio 
office when that money was lost.' 

* An unpleasant loss,' remarked the ofiicer, with apparent care- 
lessness ? * and the young gentlemen must feel it so — Arthur Chan- 
ning especially. Yorke, I believe, was out ?' 

' He does feel it very much, sir. He was as agitated about it 
yesterday as could be, when Mr. Galloway talked of putting it 
into the hands of the police. It is a disagreeable thing to have 
happen in an office, you know, sir.' 

A slight pause of silence was made by the detective ere he 
rejoined, ' Agitated, was he .? And Mr. Eoland Yorke the same, no 
doubt ?' 

' No, sir ; Mr. Eoland does not seem to care much about it. He 
thinks it must have been taken in its transit through the post-office, 
and I cannot help being of the same opinion, sir.' 

Another question or two, and Jenkins attended Mr. Butterby to 
the door. He was preparing to follow him from it, but a peremp- 
tory female voice arrested his egress. 

' Jenkins, I want you.' 

* It is hard upon half-past nine, my dear. I shall be late.' 

' If it's hard upon half-past ten, you'll just walk here. I want 
you, I say.' 

i\Ieek as any lamb, Mr. Jenkins returned to the back parlour, 
and was marshalled into a chair. Mrs. Jenkins closed the door 
and stood before him. 'Now, then, what did Butterby want?' 

' I don't know M'hat he wanted,' replied Jenkins. 

'You will sit there till you tell me,' resolutely replied the lady. 
* I am not going to have police inquisitors making mysterious visits 
inside my doors, and not know what they do it for. ' You'll tell 
me every word that passed, and the sooner you begin, the better.' 

* But I am ignorant myself of what it was he did want,' mildly 
deprecated Jenkins. ' He asked me a question or two about ]\Ir. 
Arthur Channing, but why I don't know.' 

Leaving Mrs. Jenkins to ferret out the questions one by one — 
which, you may depend upon it, she would not fail to do, and to 
keep Jenkins a prisoner until it was over — and leaving Mr. Butterby 
to proceed to the house of the cathedral organist, whither he was 
now bent, to ascertain whether Mr. Williams did take the organ 
voluntarily, and (to Arthur) unexpectedly, that past Friday after- 
noon, we will go on to other matters. Mr. Butterby best knew 
whgkt bearing this could have upon the case. Police officers some- 
times give to their inquiries a strangely wide range. 

M 2 



L54 THE OHANNIKfJS 



CHAPTEE XXII. 

AN INTERrJJPTED DINNER. 

Have you ever observed a large lake on the approach of a sudclen 
storm ? — its unnatural stillness, so death-like and ominous ; its under- 
flow of angry risings, which you know are gathering there, tliough 
not yet apparent on the surface ; its dull, booming sound, as of a 
warning whisper— and then the angry bursting forth of fury when 
the storm has come ? 

Not inaptly might the cloisters of Helstonleigh bo compared 
to such, that day, when the college boys were let out of school at 
one o'clock. A strange rumour had been passed about amid the 
desks — not reaching that at which sat the seniors— a rumour which 
shook the equanimity of the school to its centre ; and, when one 
o'clock struck, the boys, instead of clattering out with all the noise 
of which their legs and lungs were capable, stole down the stairs in 
quiet, and formed into groups of whisperers in the cloisters. It 
was the ominous calm that precedes a storm. 

So very unusual a state of affairs was noticed by the senior boy. 

'What's up now?' he asked them, in the free phraseology in 
vogue there and elsewhere. 'Are you all going to a funeral? 
I hope it's your sins that you are about to bury !' 

A heavy silence answered him. Gaunt could not make it out. 
The other three seniors, attracted by the scene, came back, and 
waited with Gaunt. By that time the calm was being broken by 
low murmurings, just like the;first threatened rising of the stonny 
waters ; and certain distinct words came from more than one of 
the groups. 

* "WTiat do you say ?' burst forth Tom Channing, darting forward 
as the words caught his ear. ' You, Jackson ! speak up, ivlicit is 
it?' 

Not Jackson's voice in particular, but several other voices arose 
then ; a word from one, a word from another, half sentences, dis- 
jointed hints, forming together an unmistakable whole., ' The 
theft of old Galloway's bank-note has been traced to Arthur 
Channing. 



THE CHANNINGS. 1G5 

* Who says it ? Who dares to say it ?' flashed Tom, his faco ou 
Si-c, and his hand clenched. 

' The police say it. Butterby says it.' 

' 1 don't care for the police, I don't care for Butterby,' cried 
Tom, stamping his foot in his terrible indignation. ' I ask, who 
dares to say it here ?' 

' I do, then ! come, Mr. Channing, though you are a senior, and 
can put me up to Pye for punishment upon any false plea that you 
choose,' answered a tall fellow, Pierce senior, who was chiefly 
remarkable for getting into fights, and was just now unusually 
friendly with Mark Galloway, at whose desk he sat. 

Quick as lightning, Tom Channing turned and faced him. 

* Speak out what you have to say,' cried he ; 'no hints. 

' Whew !' retorted Pierce senior, ' d'ye think I am afraid ? I say 
that Arthur Channing stole the note lost by old Galloway.' 

Tom, in his uncontrollable temper, raised his hand and struck 
him. One half-minute's struggle, nothing more, and Pierce senior 
was sprawling on the gi'ound, while Tom Channing' s cheek and 
nose were bleeding. Gaunt had stepped between them. 

' I stop this,' he said. ' Pierce, get up ! don't lie there like a 
floundering donkey. Channing, what possessed you to forget 
yourself?' 

' You would have done the same. Gaunt, had the insult been 
offered to you. Let the fellow retract his words, or prove them.' 

'Very good. That is how you ought to have met it at first,' 
said Gaunt. ' Now, Mr. Pierce, can you make good your asser- 
tion?' 

Pierce had floundered up, and was rubbing one of his long legs, 
which had got doubled under him in the fall, while his brother. 
Pierce junior, was collecting an armful of scattered books, and 
whispering prognostications of parental vengeance in prospective ; 
for, so sure as Pierce senior got into a fight at school, to the 
damage of his face or his clothes, so sure was it followed up 
by punishment at home. 

' If you want proof, go to Butterby at the police place, and get 
it from him,' sullenly replied Pierce, who was of a sulky temper as 
well as a pugnacious one. 

' Look here,' interrupted Mark Galloway, springing to the front ; 

* Pierce was a fool to bring it out in that way, but I'll speak up 
now it has come to this. I went into my uncle's, this morning, at 
nine o'clock, and there was he, shut in with Butterby. Butterby 
was saying that there was no doubt the theft had been committed 



166 ' THE CnANNINGS. 

by Arthur Channing. Mind, Channing,' Mark added, turning to 
Tom, * I am not seconding the accusation on my own score ; but, 
that Butterby said it I'll declare.' 

* Pshaw ! is that all ?' cried Tom Channing, lifting his head with 
a haughty gesture, and not condescending to notice the blood 
which trickled from his cheek. 'You must have misunderstood 
him, boy.' 

'No, I did not,' replied Mark Galloway. 'I heard him as 
plainly as I hear you now.' 

' It is hardly likely Butterby would say that before you, Gal- 
loway,' observed Gaunt. 

'Ah, but he did not see I was there, or my uncle either,' said 
Mark. ' When he is reading his newspaper of a morning, he can't 
bear a noise, and I go into the room always as quiet as mischief. 
He turned me out again pretty quick, I can tell you ; but not till I 
had heard Butterby say that.' 

'You must have misunderstood,' returned Gaunt, carelessly 
taking up Tom Channing's notion ; ' and you had no right to blurt 
out such a thing to the school. Arthur Channing is better known 
and trusted than you, Mr. Mark.' 

• I didn't accuse Arthur Channing to the school. I only repeated 
to my desk what Butterby said.' 

'It is that "only repeating" which does three parts of the 
mischief in this world,' said Gaunt, giving the boys a little touch of 
morality gratis, to their intense edification. ' As to you. Pierce 
senior, you'll get more than you bargain for, some of these days, if 
you poke your ill-conditioned nose so often into other people's 
business.' 

Tom Channing had strode away towards his home, his head 
erect, his step ringing firmly and proudly on the cloister flags. 
Cliarley ran by his side. But Charley's face was white, and Tom 
caught sight of it. 

' "What are you looking like that for .?' 

' Tom ! you don't think it's true, do you ?' 

Tom turned his scorn upon the boy. * You uncommon idiot ! 
True! A Channing turn thief! You may, perhaps— it's best 
known to yourself— but never Arthur.' 

'I don't mean that, I mean, can it be true that the police 
suspect him ?' 

'Oh! that's what your face becomes milk for? You ought to 
have been born a girl, Miss Charley. If the police do suspect him, 
what of that ?— they'll only get the tables turned upon themselves. 



THE CHANNINGS. 167 

Butterby might come out and say he suspects me of murder ! 
Should I care ? No ; I'd prove my innocence, and make him eat 
bis words.' 

They were drawing near home. Charley looked up at his 
brother. * You must wipe your ftice, Tom.* 

Tom took out his handkerchief, and gave his face a rub. In his 
indignation, his carelessness, he would have done nothing of the 
sort, had he not been reminded by the boy. ^ Is it off ? ' 

' Yes, it's off. I am not sure but it will break out again. You 
must take care.' 

' Oh, bother ! let it. I should like to have polished off that 
Pierce senior as he deserves. Some coin of the same sort would 
do Galloway no harm. Were I senior of the school, and Arthur 
not my brother, Mr. Mark should hear a little home truth about 
sneaks. I'll tell it him in private, as it is ; but I can't put him up 
for punishment, or act in it as Gaunt could.' 

* Arthur is our brother, therefore we feel it more pointedly than 
Gaunt can,' sensibly remarked Charley. 

' I'd advise you not to spell forth that sentimental rubbish, 
though you are a young lady,' retorted Tom. ' A senior boy, if he 
does his duty, should make every boy's cause his own, and " feel ** 
for him.' 

' Tom,' said the younger and more thoughtful of the two, * don't 
let us say anything of this at home.' 

' Why not ?' asked Tom, hotly. He would have run in open- 
mouthed. 

' It would pain mamma to hear it.' 

* Boy ! do you suppose she would fear Arthur?' 

* You seem to misconstrue aU I say, Tom. Of course she would 
not fear him — you did not fear him ; but it stung you, I know, aa 
was proved by your knocking down Pierce.' 

' Well, I won't speak of it before her,' conciliated Tom, some- 
what mollified, ' or before my father, either ; but catch me keep- 
ing it from the rest.' 

As Charles had partially foretold, they had barely entered, when 
^JTom's face again became- ornamented with crimson. Annabel 
shrieked out, startling Mr. Channing on his sofa. Mrs. Channing, 
as it happened, was not present ; Constance was, Lady Augusta 
Yorke and her daughters were spending part of the day in tho 
country, therefore Constance had come home at twelve. 

' Look at Tom's face 1' cried the child. ' What has he leca 
doing ? Look ! look ! it will drop on to his shirt V 



163 THE CHANNINGU. 

' Hold your tongue, little stupid,' returned Tom, hastily bringing 
his handkerchief into use again ; which, being a white one, made 
the worst sight of the two, with its bright red stains. ' It's nothing 
but a scratch.' 

But Annabel's eyes were sharp, and she had taken full view of 
the hurt. ' Tom, you have been fighting ! I am sure of it !' 

' Come to me, Tom,' said Mr. Charming. ' Have you been fight- 
ing?' he demanded, as Tom crossed the room in obedience, and 
stood close to him. ' Take your handkerchief away, that I may 
see your face.' 

'It could not be called a fight, papa,' said Tom, holding his 
cheek so that the light from the window fell full upon the hurt. 
* One of the boys offended me ; I hit him, and he gave me this ; 
then I knocked him down, and there it ended. It's only a scratch.' 

' Thomas, was this Christian conduct?' 

' I don't know, papa. It was schoolboy's.' 

Mr. Channing could not forbear a smile. *I know it was a 
schoolboy's conduct ; that is bad enough : and it is my son's, that 
is worse.' 

' If I had given him what he deserved, he would have got ten 
times as much ; and perhaps I should, for my temper was up, only 
Gaunt put in his interference. When I am senior, my policy of 
rule will be different from what Gaunt's is.* 

' Ah, Tom ! your " temper up !" It is that temper of yours 
which brings you harm. What was the quarrel about ?' 

' I would rather not tell you, papa. Not for my own sake,' he 
added, turning his honest eyes fearlessly on his father ; * but I 
could not tell it without betraying something about somebody, 
which it may be as well to keep in.' 

' After that lucid explanation, you had better go and get some 
warm water for your face,' said Mr. Channing. ' I will speak with 
you later.' 

Constance followed him from the room, volunteering to procure 
the warm water. They were standing in Tom's chamber after- 
wards, Tom bathing his face, and Constance looking on, when 
Arthur, who had then come in from Mr. Galloway's, passed by to 
his own room. 

' Hallo !' he called out ; ' what's the matter, Tom ?' 

* Such a row !' answered Tom. ' And I wish I could have pitched 
into Pierce senior as I'd have liked. What do you think, Arthur ? 
The school were taking up the notion that you— you !— had stolen 
old Galloway's bank-note. Pierce senior set it agate ; that is, h« 



THE CHANNING8. 169 

ai^d Mai'k Galloway together. Mark said a word, and Pierce said 
two, and so it went on. I should have paid Pierce out but for 
Gamit.' 

A silence. It was filled up by the sound of Tom splashing the 
water on his face, and by that only. Arthur spoke presently, his 
tone so calm a one as almost to be unnatural. 

* How did the notion arise ? 

* Mark Galloway said he heard Butterby talking with his uncle ; 
that Eutterby said the theft could only have been committed by 
Arthur Channing. Mark Galloway's ears must have played him 
false ; but it was a regular sneak's trick to come and repeat it for 
fact in the school. I say, Constance, is my face clean now?' 

Constance woke up from a reverie to look at his face. * Quite 
clean,' she answered. 

He dried it, dried his hands, gave a glance at his shirt front in 
the glass, which had, however, escaped- damage, brushed his hair, 
and went down stairs. Arthur closed the door and turned to Con- 
stance. Her eyes were peeking his, and her lips stood apart. The 
terrible fear which had fallen upon them both the previous day had 
not yet been spoken out between them. It must be spoken now. 

' Constance, there is tribulation before us,' he whispered. ' AVe 
must school ourselves to bear it, however difficult the task may 
prove. Whatever betide the rest of us, suspicion must be averted 
from Jdm^ 

' What tribulation do you mean ?' she gasped. 

' The affair has been placed in the hands of the police ; and I be- 
lieve—I believe,' Arthur spoke with agitation, ' that they will pub- 
licly investigate it. Constance, they suspect me. The college 
school is right, and Tom is wrong.' 

Constance leaned against a chest of diawers to steady herself, and 
pressed her hand upon her shrinking face. ' How have you leai-nt 
it?' 

* I have gathered it from different trifles ; one fact and another. 
Jenkins said Butterby was with him this morning, asking questions 
about me. Better that I should be suspected than Hamish. God 
help me to bear it!' 

' But it is so unjust that you should suffer for him.' 

' Were it traced home to him, it might be the whole family's ruin, 

for my father would inevitably lose his place. He might lose it 

were only suspicion to stray to Hamish. There is no alternative. 

I must screen him. Can you be firm, Constance, when you see me 

accused ?' 



itO THE CHANNINGS. 

Constance leaned her head upon her hand, wondering whctbei 
she could be firm in the cause. But that she knew where to go for 
strength, she might have doubted it ; for the love of right, the 
principles of justice were strong within her. ' Oh ! what could 
possess him ?' she uttered, wringing her hands, * what could pos- 
sess him ! ■ Arthur, is there not a loophole, not the faintest loop- 
hole to hope in his innocence?' 

* None that I see. No one whatever had access to the letter but 
Ilamish and I. He must have yielded to the temptation in a mo- 
ment of delu'ium, knowing the money would clear him from some 
of his pressing debts — as it has done.' 

* How could he brave the risk of detection ?' 

* I don't know. My head aches, pondering over it. I suppose 
he concluded that the suspicion would fall upon the post-oflBce. It 
would have fallen on it, but for that seal placed on the letter after- 
wards. What an unfortunate thing it was, that Roland Yorke men- 
tioned there was money inside the letter in the hearing of Hamish !' 

* Did he mention it ?' exclaimed Constance. 

* He said there was a twenty-pound note in the letter, going to 
the cousin Galloway, and Hamish remarked that he wished it was 
going into his pocket instead. I wish^' Arthur uttered, in a sort of 
frenzy, * I had locked the letter up there and then.' 

Constance clasped her hands in pain. ' I fear he may have been 
going wrong for some time,' she breathed. * It has come to my 
knowledge, through Judith, that he sits up for hours night after 
night, doing something to the books. Arthur,' she shivered, glanc- 
ing fearfully round, * I hope those accounts are right ?' 

The doubt thus given utterance to, blanched even the cheeks of 
Arthur. * Sits up at the books !' he exclaimed. 

' He sits up, that is certain ; and at the books, as I conclude. He 
takes them into his room at night. It may only be that he has not 
time, or does not make time, to go over them in the day. It may 
be.' 

* I tnist it is ; I pray it may be. Mind you, Constance, our duty 
is plain — to screen him ; to screen him at any sacrifice to ourselves, 
for the father and mother's sake.' 

' Sacrifice to you, you ought to say. "What were our other light 
troubles, compared with this ? Arthur, will they publicly accuse 
you?' 

* It may come ; I have been steeling myself all the morning to 
mset it.' 

He looked into her face as he said it. Constance could see hov 



^1 



THE CHANNINGS. 171 

his brow and heart were aching. At that moment they were called 
to dinner, and Arthur turned to leave the room. Constance caught 
his hand, the tears raining from her eyes. 

' Ai'thur,' she whispered, ' in the very darkest trouble, God can 
comfort us. Be assured He will comfort you.' 

Hamish did not make his appearance at dinner, and they sat 
down without him. This was not so very unusual as to cause sur- 
prise ; he was occasionally detained at the office. 

The meal was about half over, when Annabel, in her disregard of 
the bounds of discipline, suddenly started from her seat and flew to 
the window. 

' Charley, here are two policemen coming here ! Whatever can 
they want ?' 

' Perhaps to take you,' said Mrs. Channing, jestingly. * A short 
sojourn at the tread-mill might be of great service to you, An- 
nabel.' 

The announcement had struck upon the ear and memory of Tom. 
* Policemen!' he exclaimed, standing up in his place, and stretching 
his neck on high to obtain a view of them. * Why — it never can be 

that— old Butterby Arthur, what ails you .?' 

A sensitive, refined nature, be it implanted in man or woman, is 
almost sure to betray its emotions on the countenance. Such a 
nature was Arthur Channing's. Now that the dread had really 
come, every drop of blood forsook his cheeks and lips, leaving his 
face altogether of a ghastly whiteness. He was utterly unable to 
control or help this, and it was this pallor which had given rise to 
Tom's concluding exclamation. 

Mr. Channing looked at Arthur, Mrs. Channing looked at him ; 
they all looked at him, except Constance, and she bent her head 
lower over her plate, to hide, as she best might, her own white 
face and its shrmking terror. ' Are you ill, Arthur ?' inquired his 
father. 
A low brief reply came ; one struggling for calmness. * No, sir.* 
Impetuous Tom, forgetting caution, forgetting all save the mo- 
ment actually present, gave utterance to more than was expedient. 
* Arthur, you are never fearing what those wretched schoolboys 
said ? The police are not come to arrest you. Butterby wouldn't 
be such a fool 1' 

But the police were in the hall, and Judith had come to the din- 
ing-room door. * Master Arthur, you are wanted, please.* 

* What is all this V exclaimed Mr. Channing in astonishment, 
gazing from Tom to Arthur, from Arthur to the vision of the blue 



i.72 THE CHANNING8. 

official dress, i glimpse of which he could catch beyoud Judith. 
Toin took up the answer, 

* It's nothing, papa. It's a trick they are playing for fun, I'll lay. 
They canH really suspect Arthur of stealing the bank-note, you 
know. They'd never dare to take him up, like they take a felon.' 

Charley stole round to Arthur with a wailing cry, and threw his 
arms around him — as if their weak protection could retain him in its 
shelter. Arthur gently unwound them, and bent down till his lips 
tcjuched the yearning face held up to him in its anguish. 

'Charley, boy, I am innocent,' he breathed in the boy's ear. 
' Don't keep me. They have come for me, and I must go with 
them. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

AN ESCORT TO THE GUILDIIAIJ. 



The group would have formed a study for the painter Wilkie. Tho 
arrested dinner ; the consternation of those assembled at it : Mr. 
Channing (whose sofa, wheeled to the table, took up the end opposite 
his , wife) gazing around with a puzzled, stern expression ; Mrs. 
Channing glancing behind her with a sense ol undefined dread ; the 
pale, conscious countenances of Arthur and Constanoc ; Tom stand- 
ing up in haughty impetuosity, defiant of eveiybody ; the lively 
terror of Charley's face, as he clung to Arthur ; and the wide-opened 
eyes of Annabel expressive of nothing but surprise — for it took a 
vast deal to alarm that careless young lady ; while at the door, 
holding it open for Arthur, stood Judith in her mob-cap, full oif 
curiosity; and behind her the two policemen. A scene indeed, 
that Wilkie, in the zenith of his power, would have rejoiced to 
paint. 

Arthur, battling fiercely with his outraged pride, and breathing 
an inward hope for strength to go through with his task, for pa- 
tience to endure, put Charley from him, and went into the hall. He 
saw not what was immediately around him — the inquiring looks of 
his father and mother, the necessity of some explanation to them ; 
he saw not Judith and her curious face. A scale was, as it were, 
before his eyes, blinding them to all outward influences, save one — 
the officers of justice standing there, and the purpose for which 
they had come. 'What on earth has happened. Master Arthur?' 
whispered Judith, as he passed her, terrifying the old servant with 



Jl 



THE CIIANNINGS. 173 

his pale, scared face. But be neither heard coi answered, lie 
walked straight up to the men. 

' I will go with you quietly,' he said to them, in. an under-tcne. 
' Do not make a disturbance, to alarm my mother.' 

We cannot always have our senses about us, as the phrase goes. 
Some of us, I fear, enjoy that privilege but rarely, and the very 
best lose them on occasions. But that Arthur Channing was 
totally uncollected, ho would not have pursued a line of conduct in 
that critical moment, which was liable to bo construed into an 
admission, or, at least, a consciousness of guilt. In his anxiety to 
avert suspicion from Ilamish, he lost sight of the precautions neces- 
sary to guard himself, so far as was practicable. And yet he had 
spent time that morning, thinking over what his manner, his 
bearing must be if it came to this ! Had it como upon him un- 
expectedly he would have met it very differently; with far less 
of outward calmness, but most probably with indignant denial. 
' I will go with you quietly,' he said to the men. 

'All right, sir,' they answered with a knowing nod, and a con- 
viction that he was a cool hand and a guilty one. ' It's always 
best not to resist the law — it never does no good.' 

He need not have resisted, but he ought to have waited until 
they asked him to go. A dim perception of this had already begun 
to steal over him. He was taking his hat from its place in the hall, 
when the voice of Mr. Channing came ringing on his ear. 

' Arthur, what is this ? Give me an explanation.' 

Arthur turned back to the room, passing through the sea of faces 
to get there ; for all, save his helpless father, had come from their 
seats to gather round and about that strange mystery in the hall, 
to try to fathom it. Mr. Channing gave one long, keen glance at 
Arthur's face— which was very unlike Arthur's usual face just then ; 
for all its candour seemed to have gone out of it. He did not speak 
to liim ; he called in one of the men. 

• Will you tell me your business here ?' he asked courteously. 

' Don't you know it, sir ?' was the reply. 

[* No, I do not,' replied Mr. Channing. 
AVell, sir, it's a unpleasant accusation as is brought against 
this young gentleman. But perhaps he'll be able to make it clear. 
I hope he will. It don't give us no pleasure when folks is con- 
victed, especially young ones, and those we have always known for 
respectable ; we'd ratlicr see 'em let off.' 

Tom inten-upted— Tom, in his fiery indignation. ' Is it of stealing 
tli:it bank-note lost by Galloway that you presume to accuse 



174 THE CHANNINGS. 

my brother?' he asked, speaking indistinctly in his baste and 
passion. 

' You have said it, sir,' replied the man. * That's it.' 

* Then I say whoever accuses him ought to be ' 

' Silence, Thomas,' interrupted Mr. Channing. * Allow me to 
deal with this. Who brings this accusation against my son?' 

' "We got our orders from Mr. Butterby, sir. He is acting for 
Mr. Galloway. He was called in there early this morning.' 

' Have you come for my son to go with you to Mr. Galloway's ?* 

' Not there, sir. We have got to take him straight to the Guild- 
haU. The magistrates are waiting to hear the case.' 

A dismayed pause. Even Mr. Channing's heart, with all its 
implicit faith in the truth and honour of his children, beat as if it 
would burst its bounds. Tom's beat too ; but it was with a desho 
to ' pitch into ' the policemen, as he had pitched into Pierce senior 
in the cloisters. 

Mr. Channing turned to Arthur. ' You have an answer to this, 
my son?' 

The question was not replied to. Mr. Channing spoke again, 
with the same calm emphasis : ' Ai'thur, you can vouch for your 
innocence?' 

Arthur Channing did the very worst thing that he could have done 
— he hesitated. Instead of replying readily and firmly ' I can,' which 
he might have done without harm arising, he stopped to ask himself 
how far, consistent with safety to Hamish, he might defend liis 
own cause. His mind was not collected ; he had not, as I have 
said, his senses about him ; and the unbroken silence, waiting for 
his answer, the expectant faces turned upon him, helped to confuse 
him and to scare his reason further away. The signs, which 
certainly did look like signs of guilt, struck a knell on the heart of 
his father. * Arthur !' he wailed out, in a tone of intense agony, 
* you are innocent ?' 

' Y — es,' replied Arthur gulping down his rising breath ; his rising 
words. Impassioned words of exculpation, of innocence, of truth : 
they had bubbled up within him — were hovering on the top of his 
impatient tongue — on the verge of his burning lips. He did beat 
them down again to repression ; but he never knew afterwards how 
he did it. 

Better that he had been still silent, than speak that dubious, in- 
decisive ' Y — es.' It told terribly against him. One, conscious of 
his own innocence, does not proclaim it in indistinct, shuffling words. 
Tom's mouth dropped with dismay, and his astonished eyes seemed 



THE CHANNINGS. 175 

Rs if they could not take themselves off Arthur's vacillating face. 
Mrs. Channing staggered against the wall, with a faint cry. 

The policeman spolie up ; ho meant to be friendly. In all Hel- 
stonleigh there was not a family more respected than were the 
Channings; and the man felt a passing sori'ow for his task. *I 
wouldn't ask no questions, sir, if I was you. Sometimes it's best not ; 
they tell against the accused.' 

* The time's up,' called out the one who was in the hall, to his 
fellow. ' We can't stop here all day.' 

The hint was taken at once, both by Arthur and the man. Con- 
stance had kept herself still, throughout, by main force; but 
Mrs. Channing could not see him go away like this. She rose and 
threw her arms round him, in a burst of hysterical feeling, sobbing 
out ' My boy ! my boy !' 

* Don't, mother! don't unnerve me,' he whispered. 'It is bad 
enough as it is.' 

' But you cannot be guilty, Arthur.' 

For answer he looked straight into her eyes for a single moment. 
His habitual expression had come back to them again— the earnest 
of confiding truth, which she had ever known and trusted. It 
spoke calm to her heart now. ' You are innocent,' she murmured. 
* Then go in peace.' 

Annabel broke into a loud storm of shrieks and sobs. 'Oh, 
Judith ! will they hang him.? will they hang him ? What is it ho 
has done ?' 

' I'd hang them two policemen, if I did what I should like to do ' 
responded Judith. « Yes, you two, I mean,' she added, with scant 
ceremony, as the ofiBcials turned round at the words. 'If I had 
my will, I'd hang you both up to two of them elm-trees yonder, 
nght m front of one another. Coming to a gentleman's house on 
txiis errand !' 

* Do not drag me through the streets ignominiously,' said Arthur 
to his keepers. 'I give you my word to make no resistance: I 
will go to the Guildhall, or anywhere else that you please, as freely 
as If I were bound thither on my own pleasure. You need not let 
It be seen that I am in custody.' 

They saw that they might trust him. One of the policemen went 
over to the opposite side of the way, as if pacing his beat; the 
other contmued by the side of Arthur: not too closely; not to 
cause suspicion in those they met. A few paces from the door 
iom Channmg came pelting up, and put his arm within Arthur's. 

Guilty, or not guilty, it shall never be said a Channing was 



176 THE CHANNINQS. 

deserted by bis brotbers !' quotb be. ' I wisb Hamish could have 
been bere.' 

* Tom, you are tbinking me guilty ?' Artbur said, in a quiet tone, 
whicb did not reacb tbe ears of bis ofiScial escort. 

' Well — I am in a maze,' avowed Tom. ' If you are guilty, I 
sball never believe in anything again. I bave always thought 
that building there a cathedral: well and good; but if it turns 
out to be a bouse, I shan't be surprised, after this. Are you 
guilty?' 

' No, lad.' 

The refutation was simple, and calmly expressed ; but there was 
sufficient in its tone to make Tom Channing's heart give a great 
leap within him. 

* Thank God ! What a fool I was ! But, I say, Arthur, why 
did you not deny it, out-and-out ? Your manner frightened us. I 
suppose the police scared you ?' 

Tom, all right now, walked along, bis bead up, escorting Arthur 
with as little shame to the public examination, as be would have 
done to be publicly crowned. It was not the humiliation of 
undeserved contumely that could daunt the Channings : the con- 
sciousness of guilt could alone effect that. Hitherto, neither guilt 
nor its shadow had fallen upon them. 

'Tom,' asked Arthur, when they reached the hall, and were 
about to enter, ' will you do me a little service ?' 

' Won't I, though ! what is it ?' 

' Make tbe best of your way to Mr. Wilbams's, and tell him 1 
am prevented taking the organ this afternoon.' 

' I shan't tell him the reason,' said Tom. 

* Why not ? In an hour's time it will be known from one end of 
Helstonleigb to the other.' 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE EXAMINATION. 



The magistrates sat on the bench in the town-hall of Helstonleigb. 
But, previous to the case being called on — for tbe police bad spoken 
too fast in saying they were waiting for it — Arthur became ac- 
quainted with one great fact : that it was not Mr. Galloway who 
had pushed matters to this extremity. Neither was he aware that 
Arthur bad been taken into custody. Mr. Butterby bad assumed 



THE CHANNINGj. 177 

the responsibility, and acted upon it. Mr. Butterby, since his in- 
terview with Mr. Galloway in the morning, had gathered, as he be- 
lieved, sufficient corroborating facts to establish, or nearly so, the 
guilt of Arthur Channing. He supposed that this was all Mr. Gal- 
loway required to remove his objection to harsh measures ; and, in 
procuring the warrant for the capture, Mr. Butterby had acted as 
for Mr. Galloway. 

When Arthur was placed in the spot where he had often seen 
criminals standing, his face again wore the livid hue which had 
overspread it in his home. In a few moments this had changed to 
crimson ; brow and cheeks were glowing with it. It was a painful 
situation, and Arthur felt it to the very depths of his naturally 
proud spirit. I don't think you or I should have liked it. 

The circumstances were stated to the magistrates just as they 
have been stated to you. • The placing of the bank-note and letter 
in the envelope by Mr. Galloway, his immediately fastening it down 
by means of the gum, the abstraction of the note, between that 
time and the period when the seal was placed on it later in the day, 
and the fact that Arthur Channing alone had access to it. * Except 
Mr. Hamish Channing, for a few minutes,' Mr. Butterby added, 
* who kindly remained in the office while his brother iDroceeded as 
far as the cathedral and back again ; the other clerks, Joseph Jen- 
kins and Eoland Yorke, being absent that afternoon.' 

A deeper dye flushed Arthur's face when Ilamish's name and 
share in the afternoon's doings were mentioned, and he bent his 
eyes on the floor at his feet, and kept them there. Had Hamish not 
been impHcated, he would have stood there comparatively free, 
with a clear eye and a serene brow. It was that, the all too con- 
sciousness of the sin of Hamish, which took the spirit out of him, 
and drove him to stand there as one under the brand of guilt. He 
scarcely dared look up, lest it should be read in his countenance 
tliat he was innocent, and Hamish guilty ; he scarcely dared to pro- 
nounce, in ever so foltering a tone, the avowal ' I did it not.' Had 
it been to save his life from the scafi'old, he could not have spoken 
out boldly and freely that day. Thero was the bitter shock of the 
crime, felt for Hamish 's own sake : Hamish whom they had all so loved, 
80 looked up to ! and there was the dread of the consequences to 
Mr. Channing in the event of discovery. Had the penalty been 
hanging, I believe that Arthur would have gone to it, rather than 
betray Hamish. But you must not suppose he did not fed it for 
himself; there were niomcnls when he feared lest he should not 
carry it through. 



178 THE CHANNINQS. 

Ulr. P>utterby was waiting for a witness— Mr. Galloway himself; 
and meanwhile, he entertained the bench with certain scraps, anec- 
dotal and the like, premising what would be proved before them 
Jenkins would show that the prisoner had avowed in bis presence, 
it would take a twenty-pound note to clear him from his debts, or 
hard upon it 

* No,' interrupted the hitherto silent prisoner, to the surprise of 
those present, ' that is not true. It is correct that I did make use 
of words to that effect, but I spoke them in jest. I and Eoland 
Yorke were one day speaking of debts, and I jokingly said a twenty- 
pound note would pay mine, and leave me something out of it. 
Jenkins was present, and he may have supposed I spoke in earnest. 
In point of fact I did not owe anything.' 

It was an assertion more easily made than proved. Arthur Chan- 
ning might have large liabilities upon him, for all that appeared in 
that court to the contrary. Mr. Butterby handed the seal to the 
bench, who examined it cm-iously. 

' I could have understood this case better had any stranger or 
strangers approached the letter,' observed one of the magistrates, 
who knew the Channings personally, and greatly respected their 
high character. ' You are sure you are not mistaken in supposing 
nobody came in ?' he added, looking kindly at Arthur. 

* Certainly no one came in whilst I was alone in the office, sir,' 
was the unhesitating answer. 

The gentleman spoke in an under-tone to those beside him. 
* That avowal is in his favour. Had he taken the note, one might 
suppose he would be anxious to have it appear that stangcrs did 
enter, so as to throw the suspicion off himself.' 

* I have made veiy close inquiry, and cannot find that the office 
was entered at all that afternoon,' observed Mr. Butterby. Mr. 
Butterby had made close inquiry ; and, to do him justice, he did 
not seek to throw one shade of guilt upon Arthur more than he 
deemed the case warranted. * Mr. Hamish Channing also ' 

Mr. Butterby stopped. There, standing within the door, was 
Hamish himself. In passing along the street he had seen an 
unusual commotion around the town-hall; and, upon inquiring 
its cause, was told that Arthur Channing was under exami- 
nation, on suspicion of having stolen the bank-note, lost by Mr. 
Galloway. 

To look at Hamish you would have believed him innocent and 
unconscious as the day. He strode into the justice-room, his eye 
Cashing, his brow haughty, his colour high. Never had gay Ha« 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 179 

mish looked so scornfully indignant. He threw his glance round 
the crowded court in search of Arthur, and it found him. 

Their eyes met. A strange gaze it was, going out from the one 
to the other ; a gaze which the brothers had never in all their lives 
exchanged. Arthur's spoke of shame all too palpably— he could 
not help it in that bitter moment— shame for his brother. And 
Hamish shrunk under it. If ever one cowered visibly in this world, 
Hamish Channing did then. A low, suppressed cry went up from 
Arthiu-'s heart : whatever fond, faint doubt may have lingered on 
his mind, it died out from that moment. 

Others noticed the significant, prolonged look exchanged between 
them ; but they, not in the secret, saw only, on the part of Hamish, 
what they took to be vexation at his brother's position. It was 
suggested that it would save time to take the evidence of Mr. 
Hamish Channing at once. Mr. Galloway's might be received later. 

' T\Tiat evidence ?' demanded Hamish, standing before the magis- 
trates in a cold, uncompromising manner, and speaking in a cold, 
uncompromising tone. ' I have none to give. I know nothing of 
the affair.' 

' Not much, we are aware ; but what little you do know must be 
spoken, Mr. Hamish Channing.' 

They did not swear him. These were but informal, preliminary 
proceedings. Country courts of law and justice are not always 
conducted according to the orthodox rules, nor was that of Helston- 
leigh. There would be another and a more formal examination 
previous to the committal of the prisoner for trial— if committed he 
should be. 

A few unimportant questions were put to Hamish, and then he 
was asked whether he saw the letter in question. 

* I saw a letter which I suppose to have been the one,' he re- 
plied. * It was addressed to Mr Eobert Galloway, at Ventnor.' 

' Did you observe your brother take it into Mr. Galloway's pri- 
de room?' 

' Yes,' answered Hamish. ' In putting the desks to rights before 
'Icparting for college, my brother carried the letter into Mr. Galio- 
\vay'8 room and left it there. I distinctly remember his doing so. ' 

* Did you see the letter after that?' 
*No.' 

* How long did you remain alone while your brother was away?' 

* I did not look at my watch,' crabbedly returned Hamish, who 
had spoken in a resentful tone throughout, as if some great wrong 
were being inflicted upon him, in having to speak at all. 



180 THE CHANNINGS. 

-13ut you can g'less at the time ?' 

•No, I can't,' shortly retorted Hamish. 'And "guesses'' are 
not evidence.' 

Was it ten minutes ?' 

I L may have been. I know he seemed to be back almost aa 
MOon as he had gone.' 

* Did any person— clerk, or stranger, or visitor, or otherwise- 
come into the office during his absence from it?' 

*No.' 

' No person whatever ?' 

* No person whatever. I think,' continued Hamish, volunteering 
an opinion upon the subject, although he knew it was out of all 
rule and precedent to do so, * that there is a vast deal of unprofit- 
able fuss being made about the matter. The money must have 
been lost in its transit through the post ; it is impossible to suppose 
otherwi ' 

Hamish was stopped by a commotion. Clattering along the outer 
hall, and bursting in at the court door, his black hair awry, his 
usually pale cheeks streaked with scarlet, his nostrils working Avith 
excitement, came Eoland Yorke. He was in a state of fierce emo- 
tion. Learning, as he had done by accident, that Arthur had been 
arrested upon the charge, he took up the cause hotly, gave vent to 
a burst of passionate indignation (in which he abused everybody 
under the sun, save Arthur), and tore ofi" to the town-hall. Elbow- 
ing the crowd roughly right and left, in his impetuosity, pushing 
one policeman here and another yonder, who would have impeded 
his path, he came up to Arthur and ranged himself by his side, 
linking his arm within his in an outburst of kindly generosity. 

* Old fellow, who has done this ?' 

* Mr. Eoland Yorke !' exclaimed the bench, indignantly. ' What 
do you mean by this behaviour? Stand away, if you please, sir.' 

* I'll stand away when Arthur Channing stands away,' retorted 
Yorke, apparently ignoring whose presence he was in. ' Who ac- 
cuses him? Mr. Galloway does not. This is your doing, But- 
tcrby.' 

' Take care that their worships don't commit you for contempt 
of court,' retorted Mr. Butterby. 'You are going on for it, Eoland 
Yorke.' 

' Let them commit mc, if they will,' foamed Eoland. ' I am not 
going to see a friend falsely accused, and not stand up for him. 
Ohanning no more touched tha+, money than any of you did. The 
post-ofice must have had it.' 



THE CHANNINGs 181 

*A moment, Mr. Eoland Yorke : if you can calm yourself 
Bufficiently to answer as a rational being,' interposed the magistrate 
who had addressed Arthur. ' Have you any proof to urge in 
support of your assertion that the prisoner did not touch it ? 

' Proof, sir !' returned Eoland, subsiding, however, into a tone 
of more respect ; ' does it want commonplace proof to establish 
the innocence of Arthur Channing ? Every action of his past life 
is a proof. He is honest as the day.' 

' This warm feeling does you credit, in one sense ' 

'It does me no credit at all,' fiercely interrupted Eoland. *I 
don't defend him because he is my friend ; I don't defend him 
because we are in the same office, and sit side by side at the same 
desk ; I do it, because I know him to be innocent.' 
' How do you know it ?' 

' He could not be guilty. He is incapable of it. Better accuse 
me, or Jenkins, than accuse him !' 

' You and Jenkins were not at the office during the suspected 
time.' 

'Well, I know we were not,' acknowledged Eoland, dropping 
his voice to a more reasonable tone. 'And, just because it 
happened, by some cross-grained luck, that Channing was, Butterby 
pitches upon him, and accuses him of the theft. He never did it ! 
and I'll say it with my last breath.' 

"With some trouble ; threatenings on the part of the court, and 
more bursts of explosion from himself; Mr. Eoland Yorke was 
persuaded to retire. He got as far as the back of the room, and 
there he indulged in under-currents of wrath, touching injustice 
and Mr. Butterby, to a select circle who gathered round him. 
Warm-hearted and generous, by fits and starts, was Eoland Yorke ; 
he had inherited it with his Irish blood from Lady Augusta. 

But meanwhile, where was Mr. Galloway? He did not make 
his appearance, and it was said he could not be found. Messenger 
after messenger was despatched to his office, to his house ; and ai 
length Mr. Butterby went himself. All in vain; his servants 
knew nothing about him. Jenkins, who had the office to himself, 
thought he must be * somewhere in the town,' as he had not said ho 
was going out of it. Mr. Butterby went back crest-fallen, and 
confessed that, not to take up longer the time of their worships 
unnecessarily, the case must be remanded to the morrow. 

* We will take bail,' said the magistrates, before the application 
was made. ' One surety will be sufficient ; fifty pounds.' 

At that, Mr. Eoland, who, by this time was standing in a sullen 



182 THE CHANNINGS. 

manner against a pillar of the court, his violence gone, and biting 
his nails moodily, made a rush to the front again, heeding little 
who he knocked down in the process. Til be bail,' he cried, 
eagerly. ' That is. Lady Augusta will — as I am not a householder. 
I'll hunt her up and bring her here.' 

He was turning in his impetuous haste to 'hunt up' Lady 
Augusta, when Hamish Channing imperatively waved to him to be 
still, and spoke to the bench. 

' My father's security will be sufficient, I presume ?' 

* Quite so.' 

Since Mr. Channing's incapacity, power to sign and to act for 
him had been vested in Hamish ; and the matter was concluded 
forthwith. The court poured out its crowds. Hamish was on 
the point of taking Arthur's arm, but was pushed aside by Eoland 
Yorke, who seized upon it as if he could never make enough of 
him. 

* The miserable idiots ! to bring such a charge against you, 
Arthur ! I have been half mad ever since I heard of it.' 

' Thank you, Yorke. You are very kind ' 

'"Kind!" Don't talk that school-girl rubbish!' passionately 
interrupted Eoland. *If I were taken up upon a false charge, 
wouldn't you stand by me ?' 

* That I would ; were it false or true.' 

' I'll pay that Butterby out, if it's ten years hence ! And you, 
knowing your own innocence, could stand before them there, 
meek-faced as a tame cat, letting Butterby and the bench have it 
their own way 1 A calm temper, such as yours, Arthur, may bo 
very — ^what do they call it ? — Christian ; but I'm blest if it's useful ! 
I should have made their ears tingle, had they put me there, liko 
they have not tingled for many a day.' 

'Who do you suppose took the note?' inquired Hamish of 
Eoland Yorke, speaking for the first time. 

'Bother the note!' was the rejoinder of Mr. Eoland. 'It's 
nothing to us who took it. Arthur didn't. Go and ask the post- 
ofSce.' 

' But the seal ?' Hamish was beginning in a friendly tone of 
argument. Eoland bore him down. 

' Who cares for the seal? I don't. If Galloway had stuck him- 
self upon the letter, instead of his seal, and never got off it till it 
reached the cousin Galloway's hand, I'd not care for it. It tella 
nothing. Do you liant to find your brother guilty ?' he continued, 
in a tone of scorn ' You did not stand uj. half for him, Hamish 



THE CHANNINGS. 183 

CLanning, as I'd expect a brotlier to stand up for me. Now then, 
you people! Are you thinking wo are live kangaroos escaped 
from a menagerie ? Be off about your own business ! Don't come 
after us.' 

The last was addressed to a crowd, who had followed upon their 
heels from the court, in staring curiosity, with that innate delicacy 
for which we English are remarkable. They had seen Arthur 
Channing a thousand times before, every one of them, but, as he 
had been arrested, they must look at him again. Yorke's scornful 
reproach and his fierce face somewhat scattered them. 

*If it had been Galloway's doings, I'd never have put my foot 
inside his confounded old office again !' went on Eoland. * No ! 
and my lady might have tried her best to force me. Lugging a 
fellow up for a pitiful, paltry sum of twenty pounds ! — who is as 
much a gentleman as himself ! — who, as his own senses might tell 
him, wouldn't touch it v/ith the end of his finger ! Eut it was that 
Butterby's handiwork, not Galloway's.' 

'Galloway must have given Butterby his instructions,' obseiTed 
Hamish. 

* He didn't, then,' snapped Eoland. * Jenkins says he knows ho 
did not, by the remarks Galloway made to him this morning. 
And Galloway has been away ever since eleven o'clock, we can't 
tell where. It is nobody but that evil, mischief-making Butterby, 
and I'd give a crown out of my pocket to have a good duck at him 
in the river !' 

With regard to Mr. Galloway's knowing notking of the active 
proceedings taken against Arthur, Eoland w^-sb right. Mr. 
Butterby had despatched a note to Mr. Galloway's office at one 
o'clock, stating what ho had done, and requesting him to be at the 
office at two, for the examination— which note had been lying 
there ever since. 

It was being opened now. Now — at the exact moment that 
Mr. Eoland Yorke was giving vent to that friendly little wish, 
conjoining the river and Mr. Butterby. Mr. Galloway had met a 
friend in the town, and had gone with him a few miles by rail into 
the country, on unexpected business. lie had just returned to find 
the note, and to hear Jenkins' account of Arthur's arrest. 

* I am vexed at this,' he exclaimed, his tone betraying excessive 
annoyance. ' Butterby has exceeded his orders.' 

Jenkins thought he might venture to put in a word for Arthui. 
lie had been intensely surprised, indeed grieved, at the whole 
affair ; and, the not less so, that he feared what he had uncou- 



184: THE CmVNNINGS. 

Bciously repeated, about a twenty-pound note paying Aribur's 
debts, might have helped it on. 

' I feel as sure, as sure can be, sir, that it was not Mr. Arthur 
Clianning,' he deferentially said. ' I have not been in this office 
with him for more than twelve months without learning something 
of his principles.' 

' The principles of all the Channings are well known,' returned 
2/h\ Galloway. 'No; whatever may be the apparent proofs, 1 
cannot bring myself to think it could be Arthur Channing. 

Although ' Mr. Galloway did not say although whaty but 

changed the topic abruptly. ' Are they in court now ?' 

' I expect so, sir. Mr. Yorke is not back yet.' 

Mr. Galloway walked to the outer door, deliberating what his 
course should be. The affair grieved him more than he could 
express ; it angered him ; chiefly for his old friend Mr. Channing's 
sake. ' I had better go up to the Guildhall,' he soliloquized, ' and 
see if ' 

There they were, turning the corner of the street; Roland 
Yorke, Hamish, and Arthur ; and the tail of followers behind. 
Mr. Galloway waited till they came up. Hamish did not enter, or 
stop, but went straight home. ' They will be so anxious for news,' 
he exclaimed. Not a word had been exchanged between the 
brothers. ' No wonder that he shuns coming in !' thought Arthur. 
Ivoland Yorke threw his hat from him in silence, and sat down in 
his place at the desk. Mr. Galloway touched Arthur Avith his 
finger, and motioned him towards the private room, and stood 
there facing him, speaking gravely : — 

' Tell me the truth, as before God. Are you innocent or guilty ? 
What you say shall not be used against you.' 

Quick as lightning, in all solemn earnestness, the word ' inno- 
cent ' was on Arthur's lips. It had been better for him, perhaps, 
that he had spoken it. But, alas ! that uncertain perplexity, as to 
how far he might venture to assert his own exculpation, was upon 
him still. What impression could this hesitation, coupled with 
the known suspicious circumstances, make upon the mind of Mr. 
Galloway ? 

' Have you no answer ?' emphatically asked Mr. Galloway. 

* I am not guilty, sir.' 

Meanwhile, what do you suppose were the sensations of Mr. 
Channing ? We all know that anguish of mind is far more painful to 
bear when the body is quiescent, than when it is in motion. In any 
great trouble, any terrible suspense, look at our sleepless nights? 



i 



THE CIIANNiiSGS. 185 

We lie, and toss, and turn ; and say, When will the night be gone ? 
In the day we can partially shake it off, walking here, walking 
there; the brunt of the anguish is lost in the body's exertion. 

Mr. Channing could not take this exertion. Lying there always, 
his days were little better to him than nights, and this strange 
blow, which had fallen so suddenly and unexpectedly, did nearly 
overwhelm him. Until that afternoon he would have confidently 
said that his son might have been trusted in a room full of untold 
gold. He would have said it still, but for Arthur's manner : it was 
that which staggered him. More than one urgent message had been 
despatched for Mr. Galloway, but that gentleman was unable to go 
to him until late in the evening. 

' My friend,' said Mr. Galloway, bending over the sofa, when they 
were left alone, ' I am more grieved at this than you can be.' 

Mr. Channing clasped his hand. ' Tell me what you think your- 
self; the simple truth, unglossed over; I ask it, Galloway, by our 
long friendship. Do you deem him innocent or guilty?' 

There might be no subterfuge in the answer to words so earnest, 
and Mr. Galloway did not attempt any. He bent lower, and spoke 
in a whispered tone. ' I believe him to be guilty.' 

Mr. Channing closed his eyes, and his lips momentarily moved. 
A word of prayer, to be helped to hear, was going up to the throne 
o^God. 

' But, never think that it was I who instituted these proceedings 
against him,' resumed Mr. Gailoway. * When I called in Butterby 
to my aid this morning, I had no more notion that it was Arthur 
Channing who was guilty, than I had that it was that— that sofa 
of yours. Butterby would have cast suspicion to him then, but I 
repelled it. Ho afterwards acted upon his own responsibility while 
my back was turned. It is as I say often to my oflBce people, I 
can't stir out for a few hours but something goes wrong !^ You know 
the details of the loss .?' 

' Ay ; by heart,' replied Mr. Channing. '■ They are suspicious 
against Arthur, only in so far as that he was alone with the letter. 
Sufficient time must have been taken, as I conclude, to wet the 
envelope and unfasten the gum ; and it would appear that he alone 
had that time. This apparent suspicion would have been nothing 
to my mind, knowing Arthur as I do, had it not been coupled to a 
suspicious manner.' 

' There it is,' assented Mr. Galloway, warmly. ' It is that manner 
which leaves no room for doubt. I had him with mo privately 
when the examinatifm was over, and begged him to tell me, as 



186 THE CHANNINGB. 

before God : innocent or guilty. Ho could not. He stood like a 
statue, with a confused face, his eyes down, and his colour varying. 
He is badly constituted for the commission of crime, for he cannot 
brave it out. One, knowing himself wrongfully accused, would lay 
his hand upon his heart, with a bright, upright countenance, and 
say, I am innocent of this, so help me Heaven ! I must confess T 
did not like his manner yesterday, when he heard me say I should 
place it in the hands of the police,' continued Mr. Galloway. ' He 
grew suddenly agitated, and begged I would not.' 

* Ay 1' cried Mr. Channing, with a groan of pain he could not wholly 
suppress. ' It is an incredible mystery. What could he want with 
the money ? The tale told, about his having debts, has no foun- 
dation ; he has positively none.' 

Mr. Galloway shook his head ; he would not speak out his thoughts. 
He knew that Hamisli was in debt ; he knew that Master Eoland 
Yorke indulged in expensive habits whenever he got the opportunity, 
and he now deemed it likely that Arthur, between the two examples, 
might have been drawn in. * I shall not allow my doubts of him 
to go further than you,' he said aloud. * And I shall put a sum- 
mary stop to the law proceedings.' 

' How will you do that, now that they are publicly entered upon ? 
asked Mr. Channing. 

Til manage it,' was the reply. * We'll see which is strongest, 
I or Butterby.' 

When they .were gathering together for the reading, that night, 
Arthur took his place as usual. Mr. Channing looked at him 
sternly, and spoke sternly — in the presence of them all. * Will 
your conscience allow you to join in this ?' 

How it stung him ! Knowing himself innocent ; seeing Hamish, 
the real culprit, basking there in their love and respect, as usual ; 
the unmerited obloquy cast upon him was nearly too painful to 
bear. He did not answer: he was battling down his rebellious 
spirit ; and the gentle voice of Mrs. Channing rose instead. 

* James, there is all the more need for him to join in it, if things 
be as you fear.* And Mr. Channing applied himself to the reading, 

'My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for 
temptation. Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and 
make not haste in time of trouble.' 

It was a portion of Scripture but rarely chosen, and, perhaps for 
that reason, it fell upon Arthur with greater force. As he listened 
on, the words brought with them a healing balm ; and his chafed, 
sore spirit was soothed, and grew trusting and peaceful as that of a 
little child. 



A 



THE OHANNINGa, 187 



CHAPTER XXV. 

A MOllNING CALL. 

You may possibly be blaming Arthur Channing for meeting this 
trouble iu so sad a spirit. Were such an accusation cast unjustly 
upon you, you would throw it impatiently off, and stand up for 
yourself and your innocence in the broad light of day. Even 
were you debarred, as he was, from speaking out the whole truth, 
you would never be cast down to that desponding depth, and thereby 
give a colouring to the doubt cast upon you. Are you thinking 
this ? But you must remember that it was not for himself that 
Arthur was so weighed down. Had he possessed no conception 
how the note went, ho Avould have met the charge very diflferently, 
bearing himself bravely, and flinging their suspicion to the winds. 
'You people cannot think rae guilty,' he might have said; 'my 
whole previous life is a refutation to the charge.' He would have 
held up his head and heart cheerfully ; waiting, and looking for the 
time when elucidation should come. 

Ko; his grief, his despondency were felt for Hamish. Tlicrc 
was the fester of the wound. If Arthur Channing had cherished 
faith in one living being more than in another, it was in his elder 
brother. He loved him with a lasting love, he revered him as few 
revere a brother ; and the shock was great. He would far rather 
have fallen down to guilt himself, thaM that Hamish should have 
fallen. Tom Channing had said, with reference to Arthur, that, if 
he were guilty, he should never believe in anything again ; they 
might tell him that the cathedral was a house, and not a cathedral, 
and he should not be surprised. This sort of feeling had come over 
Arthur. It had disturbed his faith in honour and goodness — it had 
almost disgusted him with the world. Arthur Channing is not the 
only one who has found his faith in fellow-men rudely shaken. 

And yet, the first shock over, his mind was busy finding excuses 
for him. Ho knew that Hamish had not erred from any base 
promptmg of self-gratification, but from love. You may be in- 
clined to think this a contradiction, for all such promptings to 
crime must be base. Of course they arc ; but aa the motives difier, 



188 THE CHANNINGS. 

BO do the degjrees of baseness. As sure as though the whola 
intricacies of the matter had been laid before him, felt Arthur, had 
Hamish been driven to it in his desperate need, to save his father's 
place, and the family's means of support ! He felt that, had Hamish 
alone been in question, he would not have appropriated a pin, that 
was not his, to save himself from arrest : what he had done he had 
done in love. Arthur gave him credit for another thing— that he 
had never cast a glance to the possibility of suspicion falling on 
Arthur; the post-ofiBce would obtain the credit for the loss. 
Nothing more tangible than that wide field, where they might hunt 
for the supposed thief until thev were tired. 

It was a miserable evening that followed the exposure ; the pre- 
cursor of many and many miserable evenings in days to come. 
Mr. and Mrs. Channing, Hamish, Constance, and Arthur sat in the 
usual sitting-room when the rest had retired— sat in ominous silence j 
even Hamish, with his naturally sunny face and his sunny temper, 
looked gloomy as the grave. Was he deliberating upon whether he 
should show that all principles of manly justice were not quite dead 
within him, by speaking up at last, and clearing his wrongfully 
accused brother ? But then — his father's place — his mother's^ homo ? 
all might be forfeited. "Who can tell whether this was the purport 
of Hamish's thoughts as he sat there in abstraction, away from the 
light, his head upon his hand. Ee did not say. 

Artliur rose ; the silence was telling upon him. * May I say 
good night to you, father ?' 

' Have you nothing else to say ?' asked Mr. Channing. 
* In what way, sir ?' asked Arthur, in a low tone. 
' In the way of explanation. Will you leave me to go to my rest- 
less pillow without it ? This is the first estrangement which has 
come between us.' 

What explanation could he give ? • But to leave his father sufi'er- 
ing in body and in mind, without attempt at it was a hard pain to 
bear. 

' Father, I am innocent,' he said. It was all he could say ; and 
it was spoken all too quietly. 

Mr. Channing gazed at hitn searchingly. * In the teeth of ap' 
pearances ?' 
' Yes, sir, in the teeth of appearances.' 

' Then why — if I am to believe you — have assumed the aspect of 
guilt, which you certainly have done?' 

Arthur involuntarily glanced to Hamish ; the thought in his heart 
was, ^You know "why, if no one else does;' and caught Hamish 



J 



THE CHANNINGS. 189 

looking at him stealthily, under cover of his iingcrs. Apparently, 
Hamish was annoyed at being so caught, and started up. 

' Good night, mother. I am going to bed.' 

They wished him good night, and he left the room. Mr. Chan- 
ning turned again to Arthur. He took his hand, and spoke with 
agitation. ' My boy, do you know that I would almost rather have 
died, than live to see this guilt fall upon you ?' 

* Oh, father, don't judge me harshly !' he implored. ' Indeed I 
am innocent.' 

Mr. Channing paused. * Arthur, you never, as I believe, told mo 
a lie in your life. What is this puzzle ?' 

' I am not telling a lie now.' 

' I am tempted to believe you. But why, then, act as if you were 
guilty ? When those men came here to-day, you knew what they 
wanted; you resigned yourself to them, voluntarily, a prisoner. 
When Mr. Galloway questioned you privately of your innocence, 
you could not assert it.' 

Neither could he now in a more explanatory way than he was 
doing. 

' Can you look in my face and tell me, in all honour, that you 
know nothing of the loss of the note ?' 

* All I can say, sir, is, that I did not take it or touch it.' 

' Nay, but you are equivocating !' exclaimed Mr. Channing. 
Arthur felt that he was, in some measure, and did not gainsay 
it. 

* Are you aware that to-morrow you may be committed for trial 
on the charge ?' 

* I know it,' replied Ai'thur. * Unless — unless ' he stopped in 

agitation. * Unless you will interest yourself with Galloway, and 
induce him to withdraw the proceedings. Your friendship with 
him has been close and long, sir, and I think he would do it for 
you.' 

' AVould you ask this if you were innocent? said Mr. Channing. 
' Arthur, it is not the public punishment you ought to dread, but 
the consciousness of meriting it.' 

' And that I am not conscious of,' he answered, emphatically, in 
his bitterness. ' Father ! I would lay down my life to shield you 
from care ! think of me as favourably as you can.' 

' You will not make me your full confidant T 

' 1 wish I could ! I wish I could !' 

He wrung his father's hand, and turned to his mother, haltiiig 
before her. Would she give him her good-night kiss ? 



190 THE CHANNINGS. 

Would she ? Did a fond mother ever turn against her child ? To 
the prison, to the scaffold, down to the very depths of obloquy and 
scorn, a loving mother clings to her son. All else may forsake ; 
but she, never, be he what he wili Mrs. Channing drew his face 
to hers, and burst into sobs as she sheltered it on her bosom. 

* Yoic will have faith in me, my darling mother !' 

The words were spoken in the softest whisper. He kissed her 
tenderly, and hastened from the room, not trusting himself to say 
good-night to Constance. In the hall he was waylaid by Judith. 

' I say, Master Arthm', it isn't true ?' 

* Of course it is not true, Judith. Don't you know me better ?' 

' What an old oaf I am for asking, to be sure ! Didn't I nurse 
nim, and haven't I watched him grow up, and don't I know my 
own boys yet ?' she added to herself, but speaking aloud. 

* To be sure you have, Judy.' 

' But, Master Arthur, why is the master casting blame to you ? 
And when them insolent police came strutting here to-day, as large 
as life, in their ugly blue coats and shiny hats, why didn't you hold 
the door wide, and show 'em out again? I'd never have demeaned 
myself to go with 'em politely.' 

' They wanted me at the town-hall, you know, Judith. I sup- 
pose you have heard it all ?' 

' Then, want should have been their master, for me,' retorted Ju- 
dith. ' I'd never have gone, unless they had got a cord and drawed 
me. I shouldn't wonder but they fingered the money themselves ! 

Arthur made his escape, and went up to his room. He was 
scarcely within it when Hamish left his chamber and came in. Ar- 
thur's heart beat quicker. Was he coming to make a clean breast 
ofit.P Not he! 

* Arthur,' Hamish began, speaking in a kindly, but an estranged 
tone — or else Arthur fancied it — ' can I serve you in any way in 
this business ?' 

' Of course you cannot,' replied Arthur : and he felt vexed with 
himself that his tone should savour of peevishness. 

' I am sorry for it, as you may readily believe, old fellow,' resumed 
Hamish. ' When I got into the court to-day, you might have knocked 
me down with a feather.' 

* Ay, I should suppose so,' said Arthur. * You did not expect 
the charge would be brought upon me.* 

' I neither expected it nor believed it when I was told. I in- 
quired of Parkes, the beadle, what unusual thing was going on, 
seeing so many people about the doors, and he answered that you 



1 



TEE ('IIANNINGS. > 191 

v/cro nr.dcr examination. I laughed at him, thinking he was 
joking.' 

Arthur made no reply. 

' What can I do for you ? repeated Hamish. 

' You can leave me to myself, Hamish. That's about the kindest 
thing you can do for me to-night.' 

Hamish did not take the hint immediately. * Wo must have tho 
accusation quashed at all hazards,' ho went on. 'But my father 
thinks Galloway will withdraw it. Yorke says he'll not leave a 
stone unturned to make Helstonleigh believe the money was lost in 
the post-oflBce.' 

* Yorke believes so himself,' reproachfully rejoined Arthur. 

* I think most people do, with the exception of Butterby. Con- 
founded old meddler ! There would have been no outcry at all, 
but for him.' 

A pause. Arthur did not seem inclined to break it. Hamish 
had caught up a bit of whalebone, which happened to be lying on 
the drawers, and was twisting it about in his fingers, glancing at 
Arthur from time to time. Arthur leaned against the chimney- 
piece, his hands in his pockets, and, in like manner, glanced at him. 
Not the slightest doubt in the world that each was wishing to 
speak out more freely. But some inward feeling restrained them. 
Hamish broke the silence. 

* Then you have nothing to say to me, Arthur?' 

* Not to-night.' 

Arthur thought the * saying ' should have been on the other side. 
He had cherished some faint hope that Hamish would at least ao 
'knowledge the trouble he had brought upon him. ' I could not help 
it, Arthur ; I was driven to my wit's end ; but I never thought of 
the reproach falling upon you,' or words to that effect. No : no- 
thing of the sort. 

Constance was ascending the stairs as Hamish withdrew. * Can 
I come in, Arthur ?' she asked. 

For answer, he opened tho door and drew her inside. * Has Ha- 
mish spoken of it ?' she whispered. 

' Not a word— as to his own share in it. He asked, in a general 
v.ay, if he could serve me. Constance,' he feverishly added, ' they 
do not suspect down-stairs, do they ?' 

' Suspect what ?' 

* That it was Hamish.' 

* Of course they do not. They suspect you. At least, papa d Des. 
He cannot make it out ; he never was so puzzled in all his life. He 



192 THE CHANNINGS. 

says you must either liave taken the money, or connived at its 
being taken : to believe otherwise, would render your manner 
perfectly inexplicable. Oh, Arthur, he is so grieving ! He says 
other troubles have arisen without fault on our part ; but this, 
the greatest, has been brought by guilt.' 

'There is no help for it,' wailed Arthur. * I could only clear 
myself at the expense of Hamish, and it would be worse for 
them to grieve for him than for me. Bright, sunny Hamish ! 
whom my mother has, I believe in her heart, loved the best of 
all of us. Thank you, Constance, for keeping my counsel.' 

* How unselfish you are, Arthur ! ' 

' Unselfish ! I don't see it as a merit. It is my simple duty 
to be so in this. If I, by a rash word of complaint, directed 
suspicion to Hamish, and our home in consequence got broken 
up, who would be the selfish one then ? ' 

'There's the consideration which frightens and fetters us. 
"Papa must have been thinking of that when he thanked God 
that the trouble had not fallen upon Hamish.' 

' Did he do that 1 ' asked Arthur, eagerly. 

' Yes, just now. "Thank God that this cloud did not fall upon 
Hamish!" he exclaimed. ''It had been far worse for us then.'" 

Arthur listened. Had he wanted anything to confirm him in 
the sacrifice he was making, those words of his father's would 
have done it. Mr. Channing had no greater regard for one son 
than for the other ; but he knew, as well as his children, how 
much depended upon Hamish. 

The tears were welling up into the eyes of Constance. ' I 
wish I could speak comfort to you ! ' she whispered. 

' Comfort will come with time, I dare say, darling. Don't 
stay. I seem quite fagged out to-night, and would be alone.' 

Ay, alone. Alone with his grief and with God. 

To bed at last, but not to sleep ; not for hours and for hours. 
His anxiety of mind was intense, chiefly for Hamish ; though he 
endured some on his own score. To be pointed at as a thief in the 
town, stung him to the quick, even in anticipation ; and there 
was also the uncertainty as to the morrow's proceedings ; for all 
he knew, they might end in the prosecution being carried on, and 
his committal for trial. Towards morning he dropped into a 
heavy sleep ; and, to awake from that, was the worst of all ; for 
his trouble came pressing upon his brain with tenfold poignancy. 

He rose and dressed, in some perplexity — perplexity as to the 
immediate present. Ought he, or ought he not, to go as usual to 



1 



THE OUANNINGS. 193 

ivlr. Galloway's ? He really could not tell. If Mr. Galloway 
believed him guilty — and there was little doubt of that, now — of 
course he could no longer be tolerated in the office. On th-o othei 
hand, to stop away voluntarily, might look like an admission of 
guilt. 

He determined to go, and did so. It was the early morning 
hour, when he had the office to himself. He got through his work 
— the copying of a somewhat elaborate will — and returned homo 
to breakfast. He found Mr. Channing had risen, which was not 
usual. Like Arthur, his night had been an anxious one, and the 
Dustle of the breakfast-room was more tolerable than bed. 
wonder what Hamish's had been ! The meal passed in uncomfort- 
able silence. 

A tremendous peal at the hall bell startled the house, echoing 
through the Boundaries, astonishing the rooks, and sending them 
on the wing with a Caw ! — caw ! On state occasions it pleased 
Judith to answer the door herself ; her helpmate, over whom she 
held undisputed sway, ruling her with a tight hand, dared not put 
herself forward to attempt it. The bell tingled still, and Judy, 
believing it could be nobody less than the bishop come to alarm 
them with a matinal visit, hurried on a clean white apron, and 
stepped across the hall. 

Mr. Eoland Yorke ! Nobody more formidable. He passed 
Judith with an unceremonious nod, and marched into the break- 
fast-room. 

' Good morning all ! I say, old chap, are you ready to come to 
the office.? It's good to see you down at this early hour, Mr. 
Channing.' 

He was invited to take a seat, but declined ; it was time they 
were at Galloway's, he said. Arthur hesitated. 

* I do not know whether Mr. Galloway will expect me,' he 
observed. 

' Not expect you !' flashed Eoland, lapsing into his loud, excited 
manner. ' I can tell you what Arthur : if he doesn't expect you, 
he sha'n't expect me. Mr. Channing, did you ever know anything 
60 shamefully overbearing and unjust as that affair yesterday ?' 

* Unjust, if it be unfounded,' replied Mr. Channing. 

* Unfounded !' uttered Eoland. ' If that's not unfounded, there 
never was an unfounded charge brought yet. I'd answer for 
Arthur with my own life. I should like to sew up that Butterl^y ^ 
I hope, sir, you'll bring an action against him/ 

* Yo" feel it strongly, Mr. Eoland.* 

O 



194 THE CHANNINGS. 

* I should hope I do ! Look you, Mr. Channiug, it is a slur on 
oiu' office ; on me, aud on Jenkins, and on Galloway himself. Yes, 
on Galloway. I say what I mean, and nobody shall talk me down. 
I'd rather believe it was Galloway did it than Arthur. I shall 
tell him so.' 

*■ This sympathy evinces very kind feeling on your part, Eo ' 

* I declare I shall go mad if I hear that told me again !' inter- 
rupted Eoland, turning red with passion. 'It makes mo wild. 
Everybody's on with it. "You — are — very — kind — to — take — up 
— Arthur Channing's— cause 1" they mince out. Incorrigible 
idiots ! Kind ! Why, Mr. Channing, if that cat of yours there, 
basking out her long tail in the sun, were to be accused of swallow- 
ing down a mutton chop, and you felt morally certain that she 
did not do it, wouldn't you stand up for hsjr against punish- 
ment ?* 

Mr. Channing could not forbear a smile at Eoland and his hot 
championship. * To be " morally certain " may do when cats are 
in question, Mr. Eoland; but the law, imfortunately, requires 
something more for us, the superior animal. No father living has 
had more cause to put faith in his children than T. The un- 
fortunate point in this business is, that the loss appears to have 
occurred so mysteriously, when the letter was in charge of Arthur.' 

* Yes, if it had occurred that way, but who believes it did, save 
a few pates with shallow brains ?' retorted Eoland. ' The note is 
burning a hole in the pocket of some poor, ill-paid wight of a 
letter-carrier; that's where the note is. I beg your pardon, 
Mr. Channing, but it's of no use to interrupt me with arguments 
about old Galloway's seal. They go in at one ear and out at the 
other. What more easy than to put a penknife under the seal, 
and unfasten it ?' 

' You cannot do this where gum is used as well : as it was to 
that letter.' 

'Who cares for the gum!' retorted Mr. Eoland. *I don't 
pretend to say, sir, how it was accomplished, but I know it must 
have been done somehow. Watch a conjuror at his tricks ! You 
can't tell how he gets a shilling out of a box which you yourself 
put in— all you know is, ho does get it out ; or how he exhibits 
some receptacle, crammed full, which you could have sworn was 
empty. Just so with the letter. The bank-note did get out of it, 
but WG can't tell how, except that it was not through Arthur. 
Come along, old fellow, or Gallow^ay may be blowing us up for 
aTrivins: late.' 



THE CHANNINGB. 195 

Twitching Tom's hair as he passed him, treading on the cat'a 
tail, and tossing a branch of sweetbriar full of thorns at Annabel, 
Mr. Roland Yorke made his way out in a commotion. Ai-thur, 
yielding to the strong will, followed. Eoland passed his ami 
within his, and they went towards Close Street. 

* I say, old chum, I haven't had a wink of sleep all night, worry- 
ing over this bother. My room is over Lady Augusta's, and she 
sent up this morning to know what I was pacing about for, like a 
troubled ghost. I woke at four o'clock, and I could not get to 
sleep after ; so I just stamped about a bit, to stamp the timo 
away.' 

In a happier mood, Arthur might have laughed at his Irish 
speech. ' I am glad you stand by mo, at any rate, Yorke. I 
never did it, you know. Here comes Williams. I w^onder in what 
light he will take up the affair ? Perhaps he will turn me from 
my place in the college.' 

* He had better !' flashed Eoland, * I'd turn him !' 

Mr. Williams appeared to ' take up the affair ' in a resentful, 
haughty sort of spirit, somethhig like Roland, only that he was 
quieter over it. He cast ridicule to the charge. ' I am astonished 
at Galloway !' he observed, when he had been speaking with them 
some moments. ' Should he go on with the case, the town will 
cry shame upon him.' 

' Ah, but you see it was that meddling Butterby, not Galloway,' 
returned Yorke. ' As if Galloway did not Imow us chaps in his 
ofiice better than to suspect us !' 

* I fancy Butterby is more fond of meddling than he need bo, 
said the organist. ' A party in the town, living not a hundred 
miles from this very spot, was suspected of having made free with 
a ring, which disappeared from a dressing-table, where she was 
paying an evening visit ; and I declare if Butterby did not put his 
nose into it, and worm out all the particulars !' 

' That she had not taken it .?' 

* That she had. But it was productive of great annoyance ; all 
parties, even those who lost the ring, would rather have buried it 
in quiet. It was hushed up afterwards. Buttei'by ought to under- 
stand people's wishes, before he sets to work.' 

*I wish press-gangs were in fashion!' emphatically uttered 
Roland. ' What a nice prize he'd make !' 

* I suppose I can depend upon you to take the duty at Collego 
this morning?' Mr. Williams said to Arthur as he was leaving 
them. 

o 2 



196 THE OHANNINGfl. 

* Yes, I shall be out in time for the examination at the Guildhall 
The hour fixed is half-past eleven.' 

* Old villains the magistrates must have been, to remand it at 
all 1' was the concluding comment of Mr. Eoland Yorke. 



CHAPTEE XXYI. 



CHECKMATED. 



CoKSTANCE CiiANNiNG procccded to her duties as usual at Lady 
Augusta Yorke's. She drew her veil over her face, only to 
traverse the very short way that conveyed her thither, for the 
sense of shame was strong upon her conscience ; not shame for 
Arthur, but for Ilamish. It had half broken Constance's heart. 

There are times in our every-day lives when all things s^em to 
wear a depressing aspect, turn to which side we will. They were 
wearing it that day to Constance. Apart from home troubles, sIjo 
folt particularly discouraged in the educational task she had undor- 
taken. You heard the promise made to her by Caroline Yorke, to 
be up and ready for her every morning at seven. Caroline kept it 
for two mornings and then failed. This morning and the previous 
morning Constance had been there at seven, and returned home 
without getting to see either of the children. Both were ready for 
her w^hen she entered now. 

* How am I to deal with you ?' she said to Caroline, in a sad but 
affectionate tone. ' I do not wish to force you to obey me ; 1 
would prefer that you should do it cheefully.' 

'It is tiresome to get up early,' responded Caroline. 'I can't 
wake when Martha comes.' 

' Whether Martha goes to you at seven, or at eight, or at nine, 
she has the same trouble to get you up.' 

' I don't see any good in getting up early,' cried Caroline. 

' Do you see any good in acquiring good habits, instead of bad 
ones ?' asked Constance. 

' But, Miss Channing, why need we learn to get up early ? "We 
are ladies. It's only the poor who need get up at unseasonable 
hours — those who have their living to get.' 

' Is it only the poor who are accountable to God for waste ol 
time, Caroline.'^' 

Caroline paused. She did not like to give up her argument. 
' It's so very low-lived to get up with the sim. I don't think real 
ladies ever do it.' 



4 



THE CHANNINGS. 197 

'You think "real ladies" wait until the sun has been up a few 
tiours and warmed the pavement for them ?' 

' Y — es,' said Caroline. But it was not spoken very readily, for 
she had a suspicion that Miss Channing was laughing at her. 

'May I ask where you have acquired your notions of "real 
ladies," Caroline.?' 

Caroline pouted. 'Don't you call Colonel Joliffe's daughters 
ladies, Miss Channing ?' 

' Yes — in position.' 

' That's where we went yesterday, you know. Mary Joliffe says 
plie never gets up till half-past eight, and that it is not lady-like to 
got up earlier. Eeal ladies don't, Miss Channing.' 

' My dear, shall I relate to you a pretty anecdote that I have 
heard ?' 

' Oh, yes !' replied Caroline, her listless mood changing to ani- 
mation ; anecdotes, or anything in that desultory way, being far 
more acceptable to the young lady than lessons. 

'Before I begin, will you tell me whether you condescend to 
admit that our good Queen is a "real lady?" ' 

' Oh, Miss Channing, now you are laughing at me ! As if any of 
us, in all England, could be so great a lady as the Queen.' 

' Yery good. When she was a little girl, a child of her own age, the 
daughter of one of the nobility, was brought to Kensington Palace 
to spend the day with her. In talking together, the Princess 
Yictoria mentioned something she had seen when out of doors* 
that morning at seven o'clock. " At seven o'clock !" exclaimed tho 
young visitor ; " how early that is to be abroad ! I never get out of 
bed until eight. Is there any use in rising so early ?" The Duchess 
of Kent, who was present, took up the answer: "My daughter 
maybe called to fill the throne of England when she shall be grown 
up ; therefore, it is especially necessary that. she should learn the 
full value of time." You see, Caroline, the princess was not allowed 
to waste her mornings i<i bed, although she was destined to be the 
first lady in the lano Wo may be thankful to her admirable 
mother fcr making her \u that, as in many other things, a pattern 
to us.' 

' Is it a true anecdote, Miss Channing ?' 

' It was related to my mother, many years ago, by a lady who 
was, at that time, much at Kensington Palace. I think there is 
little doubt of its truth. One fact we all know, Caroline : that the 
Queen retains her early habits, and implants them upon her 
chOdren. What do you suppoge would be her Majesty's surprise, 



198 THE CHANNINGS 

Were one of her daughters— say, the Princess Helena, or the 
Princess Louise — to decline rising early for their mormng studies 
with their governess, Miss Hildyard, on the plea that it was not 
*' lady-like?"' 

Caroline's ground of objection appeared to be melting aM'ay 
under her. * But it is a dreadful plague,' she gTumbled, ' to be 
obliged to get up from one's nice warm bed, for the sake of some 
horrid old lessons !' 

'You spoke of "the poor" — those who "have their living to 
get " — as the only class who need rise betimes,' resumed Constance. 
Put that notion away from you at once and for ever, Caroline ; 
there cannot be a more false one. The higher we go in the scale 
of life, the more onerous become our duties in this world, and the 
greater is our responsibihty to God. He to whom five talents were 
intmsted, did not make them other five by wasting his days in 
idleness. Oh, Caroline 1 — Fanny, dear, come you closer and listen 
to me — your time and opportunities for good must be used—not 
abused or wasted.' 

'I will try and get up,' said Caroline, repentantly. 'I wish 
mamma had trained me to it when I was a child, as the Duchess of 
Kent trained the princess ! I might have learned to like it by this 
time.' 

' Long before this,' said Constance. * Do you remember the good 
old saying, " Do what you ought, that you may do what you like V" 
Habit is second nature. Were I told that I might lie in bed every 
morning till nine or ten o'clock, as a great favour, I should con- 
sider it a great punishment.' 

* But I have not been trained to get up, Miss Channing ; and it is 
nothing short of punishment to me to do so.' 

' The punishment of self-denial we all have to bear, Caroline. 
But I can tell you what will take ofi" half its sting.' 

' What ?' asked Caroline, eagerly. 

Constance bent towards her. * Jesus Christ said, "If any will 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, 
and follow me." When once we learn how to take it up cheerfully, 
bravely, for his sake, looking to him to be helped, the sting is gone. 
" No cross, no crown," you know, my children.' 

' No cross, no crown !' Constance had enough of cross to carry 
just then. In the course of the morning Lady Augusta came into 
the room boisterously, her manner indicative of great surprise. 

* Miss Channing, what is this tale, about your brother's having 
been arrested for stealing that missing bank-note ? Some visitors 



Ji 



THE CHANNINQS. 199 

have just called in upon me, and they say the town is ringing with 
the news.' 

It was one of the first of Constance Channing's bitter pills ; they 
were to be her poiiion for many a day. Her heart fluttered, her 
cheek varied, and her answer to Lady Augusta Yorke was low and 
timid. 

* It is true that he was arrested yesterday on suspicion.* 
' What a shocking thing ! Is he in prison T 

' Oh, no.' 

* Did he take the note ?* 

The question pained Constance worse then all. * He did not take 
it,' she replied, in a clear, soft. tone. ' To those who know Arthur 
well, it would be impossible to think he did.' 

'But he was before the magistrates yesterday, I hear, and is 
going up again to-day.' 

' Yes, that is so.' 

' And Eoland could not open his lips to tell me of this when I 
came home last night !' grumbled my lady. ' We were late, and he 
was the only one up ; Gerald and Tod were in bed. I shall ask him 
why he did not. But, Miss Channing, this must be a dreadful blow 
for you all ?' 

* It would be a worse. Lady Augusta, if we believed him guilty, 
she replied from her aching heart. 

* Oh, dear ! I hope he is not guilty !' continued my lady, dis' 
playing as little delicacy of feeling as she could well do. * It would 
be quite a dangerous thing, you know, for my Eoland to be in the 
same office.* • 

' Be at ease, Lady Augusta,' returned Constance, with a tinge of 
irony she could not wholly suppress. * Your son will incur no harm 
from the companionship of Arthur.' 

'What does Hamish say? — handsome Hamish! He does not 
deserve that such a blow should come near him.' 

Constance felt her colour deepen. She bent her face, by way of 
hiding it, over the exercise she was correcting. 

' Is he Ukely to be cleared of the charge ?' perseveringly resumed 
Lady Augusta. 

' Not by actual proof, I fear,' answered Constance, pressmg her 
hand upon her brow as she remembered that he could only be 
proved innocent by another's being proved guilty. ' The note 
seems to have been lost in so very mysterious a manner, that 
positive proof of his exoneration will be difficult.' 

* Well, it is a di'eadful thing !' concluded Lady Augusta. 



200 THE CHANNINGS. 

Meanwhile, at the very moment her ladyship was speakiiig, tho 
magistrates were in the town-hall in full conclave — the case before 
them. The news had spread — had excited interest far and wide ; 
the bench was crowded, and the court was one dense mass of heads. 

Arthur appeared, escorted by his brother Hamish and by Roland 
Yorke. Eoland was in high feather, throwing his haughty glances 
everywhere, for he had an inkling of what was to be the termi- 
nation of the affair, and did not conceal his triumph. Mr. Gal- 
loway also was of their party. 

Mr, Galloway was the first witness put forth by Mr. Butterby. 
The latter gentleman was in high feather also, like Eoland, be- 
lieving he saw his way clear to a trumphant conviction. Mr. 
Galloway was questioned ; and for some minutes it all went on 
swimmingly. 

' On the afternoon of the loss, before you closed your letter, who 
were in your ojQfice ?' 

* My clerks — Eoland Yorke and Arthur Channing.' 

* They saw the letter, I believe?' 
' They did.' 

* And the bank-note ?' 

* Most probably.' 

* It was the prisoner, Arthur Channing, who fetched the bank- 
note from your private room to the other one ? Did he see you put 
it into the letter?' 

* I cannot say.' 

A halt. ' But he was in full possession of his eyes just then ?* 

* No doubt he was.' 

* Then what should hinder his seeing you put the note into tho 
letter?' 

* I will not swear that I put the note into the letter.' 

The magistrates pricked up their ears. Mr. Butterby pricked up 
his, and looked at the witness. 

* What do you say ?' 

* I will not swear that I put the bank-note inside the letter,' 
deliberately repeated Mr. Galloway. 

' Not swear that you put the bank-note into the letter ? What is 
it that you mean ?' 

'The meaning is plain enough,' replied Mr. Galloway, calmly. 
' Must I repeat it for the third time ? I will not swear that I put 
the note into the letter.' 

' But your instructions to me were that you did put the note into 
the letter,' cried Mr. Butterby, internipting the examination. 



THE OHANNINGB. 201 

*1 will not swear it,' reiterated the witness. 

* Then there's an end of the case !' exclaimed the magistrates* 
clerk, in some choler. ' What on earth was the time of the bench 
taken up for in bringing it here ?' 

And there was an end of the case— at any rate for the present— 
for nothing more satisfactory could be got out of Mr. Galloway. 

♦I have been checkmated,' ejaculated the angry Butterby. 

They walked back arm-in-arm to Mr. Galloways, Eoland and 
Arthur. Hamish went the other way, to his own office, and 
Mr. Galloway lingered somewhere behind. Jenkins— truehearted 
Jenkins, in the black handkerchief still— was doubly respectful to 
Arthur, and rose to welcome him ; a faint hectic of pleasure 
illumining his face at the termination of the charge. 

' Who said our office was going to bo put down for a thiefs !' 
uttered Eoland. * Old Galloway's a trump ! Here's your place, 
Arthur.' 

Arthur did not take it. He had seen from the window the 
approach of Mr. Galloway, and delicacy prevented his assuming his 
old post until bade to do so. Mr. Galloway came in, and motioned 
him into his own room. 

' Arthur Channing,' he said, * I have acted leniently in this un- 
pleasant matter, for your father's sake ; but, .from my very heart, 1 
believe you to be guilty.' 

' I thank you, sir,' Arthur said, ' for that and all other kindness. 
I am not as guilty as you deem me. Do you wish me to leave ?' 

* If you can give me no better assurance of your innocence — if you 
can give me no explanation of the peculiar and most unsatisfactory 
manner in which you have met the charge — yes. To retain you 
here would be unjust to my own interests, and unfair as regards 
Jenkins and Eoland Yorke.' 

To give this explanation was impossible ; neither dared Arthur 
assert more emphatically his innocence. Once convince Mr. 
Galloway that he was not the guilty party, and that gentleman 
would forthwith issue fresh instructions to Butterby for the further 
investigation of the affair : of this Arthur felt convinced. He could 
only be silent and remain under the stigma. 

'Then— I had better- you would wish me, perhaps — to go at 
once ?' hesitated Arthur. 

' Yes,' shortly replied Mr. Galloway. 

He spoke a word of farewell, which Mr. Galloway replied to by a 
nod, and went into the front office. There he began to collect 
together certain trifles that belonged to him. 



202 THE CHANNINGS. 

* What's that for?' asked Eoland Yorke. 

* I am going/ he replied. 

* Going!' roared Eoland, jumping to his feet, and dashing down 
his pen full of ink, \idth little regard to the deed he was copying. 
* Galloway has never turned you off!' 

* Yes, he has.' 

' Then I'll go too !' thundered Eoland, who, truth to say, had 
flown into an uncontrollable passion, startling Jenkins and arousing 
Mr. Galloway. ' I'll not stop in a place where that sort of injustice 
goes on ! He'll be turning me out next ! Catch me stopping for it !' 

' Are you taken crazy, Mr. Eoland Yorke ?' 

The question proceeded from his master, who came forth to 
make it. Eoland turned to him, his temper unsubdued, and his 
colour rising. 

* Channing never took the money, sir I It is not just to turn 
him away.' 

*Did you help him to take it, pray, that you identify yourself 
with the affair so persistently and violently?' demanded Mr. 
Galloway, in a cynical tone. And Eoland answered with a hot and 
haughty word. 

* If you cannot attend to your business a little better, you will 
get your dismissal from me ; you won't require to dismiss yourself,' 
said Mr. Galloway. * Sit down, sir, and go on with your work.' 

* And that's all the thanks a fellow gets for taking up a cause of 
oppression !' muttered Mr. Eoland Yorke, as he sullenly resumed 
his place at the desk. * This is a precious world to live in i' 



CHAPTEE XXVII. 

APIECE OF PREFERMENT. 



Before the nine days' wonder, which, you know, is said to be the 
accompaniment of all marvels, had died away, Helstonleigh was 
fated to be astonished by another piece of news of a different nature 
— the preferment of the Eeverend William Yorke. 

A different preferment from what had been anticipated for him ; 
otherwise the news had been nothing extraordinary, for it is 
customary for the Dean and Chapter to provide livings for their 
minor canons. In a fine, open part of the town was a cluster of 
buildings, called Hazeldon's Charity, so named from its founder 
Sir Thomas Hazeldon — a large, paved inclosure, fenced in by iron 
railings, and a pair of iron gates. A chapel stood in the mi.dst, 



J 



THE CHANNINQS. 203 

On eilliGr side, right and left, ran sixteen almshouses, and at the top, 
opposite to the iron gates, stood the dwelling of the chaplain to 
the charity, a superior residence, called Hazeldon House. This 
preferment, worth three hundred pounds a year, had been for some 
weeks vacant, the chaplain having died. It was in the gift of the 
present baronet, Sir Frederick Hazeldon, a descendant of the 
founder, and he now suddenly conferred it upon the Rev. William 
Yorke. It took Helstonleigh by surprise. It took Mr. Yorke 
himself entirely by surprise. Ho possessed no interest whatever 
with Sir Frederick, and had never cast a thought to the probability 
of its becoming his. Perhaps, Sir Frederick's motive for bestowing 
it upon him was this — that, of all the clergy in the neighbourhood, 
looking out for something good to drop to them, Mr. Yorke had 
been nearly the only one who had not solicited it of Sir Frederick. 

Its coming was none the less welcome. It would not interfere 
in the least with the duties or preferment of his minor canonry ; 
a minor canon had once before held it. In short, it was one of 
those slices of luck which do sometimes come unexpectedly in this 
world. 

In the soft light of the summer evening, Constance Channing 
stood under the cedar-tree. A fine old tree was that, making the 
boast of the Channings' garden. The sun was setting in all its 
gorgeous beauty, clouds of crimson and purple floated on the hori- 
zon, their gold edges dazzling the eye ; a roseate hue pervaded the 
atmosphere, and lighted with its own loveliness the sweet face o* 
Constance. It was an evening that seemed to speak peace to the 
soul— so would it have spoken to that of Constance, but for the 
ever-present trouble which had fallen there. 

Another trouble was falling upon her, or seemed to be ; one 
that more immediately concerned herself. Since the disgrace had 
come to Arthur, Mr. Yorke had been less frequent in his visits. 
Some days had now elapsed from the time of Arthur's dismissal 
from Mr. Galloway's, and Mr. Yorke had called but once. This 
might have arisen from accidental circumstances ; but Constance 
felt a different fear in her heart. 

* Hark ! that is his ring at the hall-bell. Constance has not 
listened for, and loved that ring so long, to be mistaken now. 
Another minute, and she hears those footsteps approaching, 
warming her life-blood, quickening her pulses: the rosy hue on 
her face deepens to crimson, as she turns it towards him. She 
knows nothing yet of his appointment to the Hazeldon chaplaincy j 
Mr. Yorke has not known it himself two hours. 



204 THE CHANNINGS. 

He came up and laid his hands upon her shoulders playfully, 
looking down at her. * What will you give me for some news, by 
way of greeting, Constance V 

'News?' she answered, raising her eyes to his, and scarcely 
knowing what she did say, in the confusion of meeting him, in her 
all-conscious love. ' Is it good or bad ?' 

' Helstonleigh will not call it good, I expect. There are those 
upon whom it will fall like a thunder-clap.' 

* Tell it me, William ; I cannot guess,' she said, somewhat wearily. 
' I suppose it does not concern me.' 

' But it does concern you — at second hand.' 

Poor Constance, timorous and full of dread since the grief had 
fallen, was but too apt to connect everything with that one source. 
We have done the same in our lives, all of us, when under the 
consciousness of some secret terror. She appeared to be living upon a 
mine, which might explode any hour and bring down Hamish in the 
debris. The words bore an ominous sound ; and, foolish as it may 
appear to us, who know the nature of Mr. Yorke's news, Constance 
fell into a sudden panic, and turned white. 

* Does — does — it concern Arthur ?' she uttered. 

' No. Constance,' changing his tone, and dropping his hands as 
he gazed at her, 'why should you be so terrified for Arthur? 
You have been a changed girl since that happened — shrinking, 
timid, starting at every sound, unable to look people in the face. 
Why so, if he is innocent ?' 

She shivered inwardly, as was perceptible to the eyes of Mr. 
Yorke. * Tell me the news,' she answered in a low tone, ' if, as yon 
say, it concerns me.'" 

' I hope it will concern you, Constance. At any rate, it concerns 
me. The news,' he gravely added, * is, that I am appointed to the 
Hazeldon chaplaincy.' 

* Oh, William 1' The sudden revulsion of feeling from intense, 
undefined terror to joyful surprise, was too much to bear calmly. 
Her emotion overpowered her, and she burst into tears. Mr. 
Yorke compelled her to sit down on the garden bench, and stood 
over her — his arm on her shoulder, her hand clasped in his. 

' Constance, what is the cause of this ?' he asked, whei. lier 
emotion had passed. 

She evaded the question. She dried her tears and smoothed lier 
face to smiles, and tried to look as unconscious as she might. ' Is 
it it3ally true that you have the chaplaincy?' she questioned. 

' I received my appointment to it this evening. Why Sir Frode^ 



THE CHANNINGa, 205 

riok siiould have conferred it upon me I am unable to say; I feel 
al] the more obliged to him for its being unexpected. Shall you lilie 
the house, Constance ?' 

The rosy hue stole over her cheeks again, and a happy sniilo 
parted her lips. 'I once said to mamma, when we had been 
spending the evening there, that I should like to live at Hazeldon 
House. I like its situation ; I like its rooms ! I shall like to bo 
busy among all those poor old people. But, when I said it, William, 
I had not the slightest idea that the chance would ever be mine.' 

' You have only to determine now how soon the "chance " shall 
become certainty,' he said. ' I must take up my residence there 
within a month, and I do not care how soon my wife takes up hers 
after that.' 

The rose grow deeper. She bent her brow down apon her 
hand and his, hiding her face. ' It could not possibly be, William.' 

'What could not V 

' So soon. Papa and mamma are going to Germany, you know, 
and I must keep house here. Besides, what would Lady Augusta 
say at my leaving her situation almost as soon as I have entered 
upon it ?' 

' Lady Augusta ' Mr. Yorke was beginning impulsively, but 

checked himself. Constance lifted her face and looked at him. 
His brow was knit, and a stern expression had settled on it. 

' Wliat is it, William ?' 

' I want to know what caused your grief just now,' was his abrupt 
rejoinder, ' and what is it that has made you appear so strange ol 
late.' 

The words fell on her like an ice-bolt. For a few brief moments 
she had forgotten her fears, had revelled in the sunshine of the pro- 
spective happiness so suddenly laid out before her. Back came the 
gloom, the humiliation, the sick terror. 

' Had Arthur been guilty of the charge laid to him, and you 
cognisant of it, I could fancy that your manner would be precisely 
what it is,' answered Mr. Yorke. 

Her heart beat wildly. He spoke in a reserved, haughty tone, 
and she felt a foreboding that some unpleasant explanation was at 
hand. She felt more — that perhaps she ought not to become his 
wife with this cloud hanging over them. She nerved herself to say 
what she deemed she ought to say. 

' William,' she began, ' perhaps you would wish that our marriag(S 
should be delayed until— until— I mean, now that this suspicion kae 
fallen upon Arthur ?' 



206 THE CHANNINGS. 

She could scarcely get the incoherent words out, so great was 
her agitation. . Mr. Yorke saw how white and trembling were her 
lips. 

' I cannot believe Arthur guilty,' was his reply. 

She remembered that Hamish was, though Arthur was not ; and 
in point of disgrace, it amounted to the same thing. Constance 
passed her hand over her perplexed brow. ' He is looked upon as 
guilty by many : that, we unfortunately know ; and it may not be 
thought well that you should, under the circumstance, make me 
your wife. You may not think so.' 

Mr. Yorke made no reply. He may have been deliberating upon 
the question. 

* Let us put it in this light, William,' she resumed, her tone one 
of intense pain. ' Suppose, for argument's sake, that Arthur were 
guilty ; would you marry me freely, all the same ?' 

' It is a hard question, Constance,' he said, after a paus£. 
' It must be answered.' 

* Were Arthur guilty and you cognisant of it — screening him— I 
should lose half my confidence in you, Constance.' 

That was the knell. Her heart and her eyes alike fell, and she 
knew, in that one moment, that all hope of marrying William 
Yorke was gone. 

' You think that, were he guilty — I am speaking only for argu- 
ment's sake,' slie breathed in her emotion, — ' you think, were I 
cognisant of it, I onglit to betray him ; to make it known to the 
world ?' 

' I do not say that, Constance. No. But you are my affianced 
wife ; and, whatever cognisance of the matter you might possess, 
whatever might be the mystery attending it — and a mystery I 
believe there is— you should repose the confidence and the mystery 
in me.' 

' That you might decide whether or not I am worthy to be your 
wife !' she exclaimed, a flash of indignation lighting up her spirit. 
To doubt her ! She felt it keenly. Oh, that she could have told 
him the truth ! but she dared not, for Hamish's sake. 

He took her hand in his ; he laid the other upon it ; he gazed 
searchingly into her face. ' Constance, you know what you are to 
me. This unhappy business has been as great a trial to me as ta 
you. Can you deny to me all cognisance of its mystery, its guilt ? 
I ask not whether Arthur be innocent or guilty ; I ask whether you 
are innocent of partisanship in the concealment. Can you stand 
before me and assure me, in all truth, that you are so ?' 



4 



THE CHANNIN6S. 207 

She could not. * I believe in Arthur's innocence,' she replied, in 
•a, low tone. 

So did Mr. Yorke, or lie might not have rejoined as he did. * I 
believe also in his innocence,' he said. ' Otherwise ' 

' You would not make me your wife. Speak it without hesita- 
tion, William.' 

*^\re]i_i cannot tell what my course would bo. Perhaps, I 
would not.' 

A silence. Constance was feeling the avowal in all its bitter 
humiliation. It seemed to humiliate her, * No, no ; it would not 
be right of him to make me his wife now,' she reflected. ' Hamish's 
disgrace may come out any day ; he may be brought to trial for it 
yet. His wife's brother! and ho a cathedral clergyman. No, it 
would never do. William,' she said, aloud, * we must part.' 

*Part?' echoed Mr. Yorke, as the words issued faintly from her 
trembling lips. 

The tears rose to her eyes ; it was with diflSculty she kept them 
from falling. ' I cannot become your wife while this cloud over- 
hangs Arthur. It would not be right.' 

* You say you believe in his innocence,' was the reply of Mr. 
Yorke. 

' I do. But the world does not. William,' she continued, placing 
her hand in his, while the tears rained freely down her face, * let us 
say farewell now.* 

He drew her closer to him ; he dried the tears from her face. 
* Explain this mystery, Constance. Why are you not open with 
me ? What has come between us ?' 

* I cannot explain,' she sobbed. ' There is nothing for us but to 
part.' 

' We will not part. Why shquld we, when you say Arthur is in- 
nocent, and I believe him to be so ? Constance, my darling, what 
is this grief?* 

What were the words but a tacit admission that, if Arthur were 
not innocent, they should part? Constance so interpreted them. 
Had any additional weight been needed to strengthen her resolution, 
this would have supplied it. 

' Farewell ! farewell, William ! To remain with you is but pro- 
longing the pain of parting.' 

'J hat her resolution to part was fixed, he saw. It was his turn 
to be angry now. A slight touch of the haughty Yorke temper was 
in him, and there were times when it peeped out. lie folded his 
arms, and the flush left his countenance. 



208 THE CHANNINGS. 

* I cannot understand you, Constance. I cannot fathom youi 
motive, or why you are doing this ; unless it be that you never 
cared for me.' 

* I have cared for you as I never cared for any one ; as I shall 
never care for another. To part with you will be like parting with 
life.' 

* Then why speak of it ? Be my wife, Constance ; be my wife !* 
^No, it might bring you disgrace,' she hysterically answered; 

* and, that, you shall never encounter through me. Do not keep 
me, William ; my resolution is irrevocable.' 

Sobbing as though her heart would break, she turned from him. 
Mr. Yorke followed her in-doors. In the hall stood Mrs. Channing. 
Constance turned aside, anywhere, to hide her face from her mother's 
eye. Mrs. Channing did not particularly observe her, and tiuned 
to accost Mr. Yorke. An angry frown was on his brow, an angry 
weight on his spirit. Constance's words and course of action had 
now fully impressed him with the belief that Arthur was guilty ; 
that she knew him to be so ; and the proud Yorke blood within 
him whispered that it was luell so to part. But he liad loved her 
with a deep and enduring love, and his heart ached bitterly. 

' Will you come in and lend a helping hand in the discussion ?* 
Mrs. Channing said to him, with a smile. * We are carving out the 
plan for our journey.' 

He bowed, and followed her into the sitting-room. He did not 
speak of what had just occurred, leaving that to Constance, if she 
should choose to give an explanation. It was not Mr. Yorke's 
place to say, ' Constance has given me up. She has impressed mo 
with the conviction that Arthur is guilty, and she says she will not 
bring disgrace upon me.' No, certainly ; he could not tell them that. 

Mr. Channing lay as usual on his sofa, Hamish near him. Gay 
Hamish, who was looking as light-faced as ever ; undoubtedly, ho 
seemed as light-hearted. Hamish had a book before him, a map, 
and a pencil. He was tracing out the route of his father and 
mother, joking always. 

After much anxious consideration, pro and con, Mr. Channing had 
determined to proceed at once to Germany. It is true that he 
could not well afford to do so ; and, before he heard from Dr. 
Lamb the very insignificant cost it would prove, he had been in the 
habit of putting it out of view, as wholly impracticable at present. 
But the information given him by the doctor changed his views, 
and he began to think it not only practicable, but feasible. His 
ohildren were giving much help now to meet home expenses— Ooa- 




TH3 CHANNINGS. 209 

stance, in going to Lady Augusta's ; Arthur, to the Cathedral. Dr. 
Lamb strongly urged his going, and Mr. Channing himself knew 
Ihat, if he could but come home restored to health and to activity, 
the journey instead of being a cost, would, in point of fact, prove a 
saving. With much deliberation, with much prayer to be helped 
to a right decision, Mr. Channing at length made it — to go. 

It was necessary to start at once, for the season was already ad- 
vanced ; indeed, as Dr. Lamb observed, he ought to have been 
away a month back. Then all was bustle and preparation. Two 
or three days were wasted in the unhappy business concerning 
Arthur. But all the grieving over that, all the staying at homo 
for it, could do no good ; Mr. Channing was fain to see that it could 
not, and the preparations were hastened. Hamish was most active 
in all — in urging the departure, in helping at the packing, in carry- 
ing out their route ; joking, I say, always. 

' Now, mind, mother, as you are to be manager in chief, it is the 
Antwerp packet you are to take,' he was saying, in a serio-comic, 
dictatorial manner. ' Don't you get seduced on to any indiscrimi- 
nate steamer, or you may find yourselves carried off to some un- 
known regions inhabited by cannibals, and never be heard of more. 
The Antwerp steamer ; and it starts from St. Katherine's Docks — if 
you have the pleasure of knowing that enchanting part of London. 
I made acquaintance with it in a fog, in that sight-seeing visit I 
paid to town ; and its beauty, I must confess, did not impress me. 
From St. Katherine's Docks you will reach Antwerp in eighteen 
hours, which is an average passage — always provided the ship's 
bottom does not come out.' 

* Hamish!' 

*Well, I'll not anticipate: I daresay it is well caulked. At any 
rate, take an insurance ticket against accident, and then you'll be 
all right. An Irishman slept at the top of a very high hotel. "Are 
you not afraid to sleep up there, in case of fire ?" a friend asked him. 
" By the powers, no !" said he ; "they tell me the house is insured." 
Now, mother mine ' 

' Shall we have to stay in Antwerp, Hamish ?' interrupted IMr. 
Channing. 

* Yes, as you return, sir ; which answer you will think emanated 
from our Irish friend. Nobody ever went to Antwerp yet, without 
giving the glorious old town a few hours' inspection. I only wish 
the chance were offered me ! Now, as you go, you will not be able 
to get about ; but, as you return, you will— if all the good has been 
done you that I anticipate.' 

P 



210 THE OHANNINGS. 

' Do not be too sanguine, Ilamish.' 

* My dear father,' and Hamish's tone assamed a deeper feeling, 
* to be sanguine was implanted in my nature, at my birth : but in 
this case I am more than sanguine. You will be cured, depend 
upon it. When you return, in three months' time, I shall not have 
a fly waiting for you at the station here, or if I do, it will be for 
the mother's exclusive use and benefit ; I shall parade you thi'ough 
the town on my arpi, showing your renewed strength of leg and 
limb to the delighted eyes of Helstonleigh.' 

' Why are you so silent ?' Mrs. Channing inquired of William 
Yorke. She had suddenly noticed that he had scarcely said a 
word ; that he had sat in a fit of abstraction since his entrance. 

' Silent ? Oh ! Hamish is talking for all of us,' he answered, 
starting from his reverie. 

* The ingratitude that people possess !' ejaculated Hamish. * Is 
he saying that in a spirit of complaint, now ? Mr. Yorke, I am as- 
tonished at you.* 

At this moment Tom was heard to enter the house. That it 
could be nobody but Tom was undoubted, by the noise and commo- 
tion ; the others were quieter, except Annabel, and she was a girl. 
Tom it was, and he came in, tongus, and hands, and feet, all going 
together. 

' What luck, is it not, Mr. Yorke ? I am so glad it's you who 
has got it !' 

Mr. Channing looked up with surprise. * Tom, you will never 
learn good manners ! Got what ?' 

'Has he not told you?' exclaimed Tom, entu'ely ignoring the re- 
proof as to his manners. ' He is appointed to Hazeldon Chapel. 
Where's Constance ? I'll be bound he has told her V 

Saucy Tom ! They received his news in silence, looking to Mr. 
Yorke for explanation. He rose from his chair, and his cheek 
slightly flushed as he confirmed the tidings. 

' Does Constance know it ?' inquired Mrs. Channing, speaking in 
the moment's impulse. 

* Yes,' was Mr. Yorke's short answer. And then he said some- 
thing, not very coherent, about having an engagement, and took 
his leave, wishing Mr. Channing every benefit from his journey. 

' But, we do not go until the day after to-morrow,' objected Mr. 
Channing. ' We shall see you before that.' 

Another unsatisfactory sentence from Mr. Yorke, that he * was 
not sure.' In shaking hands with Mrs. Channing he bent dowu 
with a whisper : ' I think Constance has something to say to you.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 211 

Mrs. Channing found her in her room, in a sad state of di6tres8. 
* Child ! what is this ?' she uttered. 

' Oh ! mother, mother, it is all at an end, and we have parted foi 
ever !' was poor Constance's wailed-out answer. And Mrs. Chan- 
ning feeling qui.te si<»k with the various troubles that seemed to bo 
coming upon her, inquired why it was at an end. 

* He feels that the disgrace which has fallen upon us would be 
reflected upon him, were he to make me his wife. Mother, there 
is no help for it : it would disgrace him.' 

' But where there is no real guilt there can be no real disgrace,' 
objected Mrs. Channing. *I am firmly persuaded, however 
mysterious and unsatisfactory things appear, that Arthur is not 
guilty, and that time will prove he is not.' 

Constance could only shiver and sob. Knowing what she knew, 
she could entertain no hope. 

' Poor child ! poor child !' murmured Mrs. Channing, her tears 
dropping upon the fair young face, as she gathered it to her 
sheltering bosom. ' What have you done that this blight should 
extend to you ?' 

' Teach mo to bear it, mother. It must be God's will.' And 
Constance Channing lay in her resting-place, and there sobbed 
out her heart's grief, as she had used to do in her early girlhood. 



CHAPTER XXYIII. 

AN APPEAL TO THE DEAN, 

The first brunt of the edge worn off, Arthur Channing partially 
vecovered his cheerfulness. The French have a proverb, which is 
familiar to all of us, in these French days, when everybody knows 
the language, or professes to know it—* Ce n'est que le premier pas 
qui coute.' There is a great deal of truth in it, as experience 
teaches, and as Arthur found. * Where is the use of my depend- 
ence upon God,' Arthur also reasoned with himself ten times a day, 
' if it does not serve to bear me up in this, my first trouble? As 
well have been brought up next door to a heathen ! Why, if I 
were guilty, I could only bo as one ground down to the dust ! Let 
me do the best I can under it, and go my way as if it had not 
happened, trusting all to God.' 

A good resolution, and one that none could have made, and kept, 
unless he had learnt that good trust, which is the surest beacon- 
liglit we can possess in the world. Hour after hour, day after day, 

p 2 



212 THE CHANNINGS. 

did that trust grow in Arthur Channing's heart. He felt a sure 
conviction that God would bring his innocence to light in His o^vn 
good time : and that time he was content to wait for. Not at the 
expense of Hamish. In his brotherly love for Hamish, which this 
transaction had been unable to dispel, he would have shielded liis 
reputation at any sacrifice to himself. He had gro^vn to excuse 
Hamish, far more than he could ever have excused himself, had he 
been guilty of it ; he constantly hoped that the sin might nevei be 
brought home to Hamish, even by the remotest suspicion ; he 
hoped that he would never fall again. Hamish was now so kind to 
Arthur — gentle in manner, considerately thoughtful, anxious to 
spare him, to resent any rude shaft that might be hurled at him, 
He had taken to profess his full belief in Arthur's innocence ; not 
as loudly perhaps, but quite as urgently, as did Eoland Yorke. 
* He would prove my innocence, and take the guilt to himself, but 
that it would bring ruin to my father,' fondly soliloquised Arthur. 

Arthur's Channing's most earnest desire, for the present, was 
to obtain some employment. His weekly salary at Mr. Galloway's 
had been trifling ; but still it was so much loss. He had gone to 
Mr. Galloway's not so much to be of help to that gentleman, who 
really did not require a third clerk, as to get his hand into the 
routine of the oflBce, against he should be articled. Hence his 
weekly pay had been almost nominal. Small though it was, ho 
was anxious to replace it ; and he sought to hear of something in 
the town. As yet, without success. Persons were not willing to 
engage one on whom a doubt rested ; and a very great doubt, in 
the opinion of the town, did rest upon Arthur. The manner in 
which the case had terminated — by Mr. Galloway's refusing to 
swear he put the bank-note in the envelope, when it was kno^vn 
that Mr. Galloway had put it in, and that Mr. Galloway himself 
knew that he had put it in — told more against Arthur than the 
actual charge had done. It was not, you see, establishing 
Arthur's innocence ; on the contrary, it rather tended to imply his 
guilt. ' If I go on with this, he will be convicted, therefore I will 
withdraw it for his father's sake,' was the motive of action which 
the town imputed to Mr. Galloway. His summary dismissal, also, 
from the office, was urged against him. Altogether, Arthur did 
not stand well with Helstonleigh ; and fresh employment did not 
readily show itself. This was of little moment, comparatively 
apeaking, while his good place in the Cathedral was not perilled. 
But that was to come. 

On the day previous to the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Channiug, 



THE OHANNINGS. 213 

Arthur was seated at the organ m afternoon service, playing the 
anthem, when Mr. Williams came up. Arthur saw him with 
surprise. It was not the day for practising the choristers ; there- 
fore, what could he want ? A feeling of dread that it might bode 
ill to him, came over Arthur. 

Which feeling was borne out all too surely. 'Channing,' Mr. 
Wilhams began, scarcely giving himself time to wait until the 
gervice was over and the congregation were leaving, * the dean has 
been talking to me about this bother. What is to be done ?' 

The life-blood at his heart seemed to stand still, and then go on 
again. His place there was about to be taken from him ; he knew 
it. Must he become an idle, useless burden upon them at home ? 

*He met me this morning in High-Street, and stopped me,' 
continued Mr. Williams. ' He considers that if you were guilty of 
the theft, you ought not to be allowed to retain your place here. 
I told him you were not guilty — that I felt thoroughly convinced 
of it; but he listened coldly. The dean is a strict man, and I 
have always said it.' 

' He is a good man, and only strict in the cause of injustice,* 
replied Arthur, who was himself too just to allow blame to rest 
where it was not due, even though it were to defend himself. ' Did 
he give orders for my dismissal ?' 

' He has not done it yet. I said to him, that when a man was 
accused wrongly, it ought not to be a plea for all the world's 
trampling him down. He answered pretty warmly to that, that of 
course it ought not ; but that, if appearances might be trusted, 
you were not accused wrongly.' 

Arthur sat, scoring some music with his pencil. Never had he 
felt that appearances were against him more plainly than he felt 
it then. 

* I thought I would step down and tell you this, Channing,' 
Mr. Williams observed. ' I shall not dismiss you, you may be sure 
of that ; but, if the dean puts forth his veto, I cannot help myself. 
He is master of the Cathedral, not I. I cannot think what 
possesses the people to doubt you ! They would not, if they had 
ten grains of sense.' 

The organist concluded his words as he hurried down the stairs 
—he was always much pressed for time. Arthur, a cold weight 
lying at his heart, put the music together, and departed. 

He traversed the nave, crossed the body, and descended the 
steps to the cloisters. As he was passing the Chapter House, tho 
doors opened, and Dr. Gardner came out, in his surplice and 



214 THE CHANNINGS. 

trencher. He closed the doors after him, but not before Arthur 
had seen the dean seated alone at the table — a large folio before 
him. Both of them had just left the Cathedral. 

Arthur raised his hat to the canon, who acknowledged it, but — 
Arthur thought— very coldly. To a soro mind, fancy is ever 
active. A thought flashed over Arthur that he would go, there 
and then, and speak to the dean. 

Acting upon the moment's impulse, without premeditation as to 
what he should say, he turned back and laid his hand upon the 
door handle. A passing tremor, as to the result, arose within 
him ; but he had learnt where help in need is ever to be obtained, 
and an earnestly breathed word went up then. The dean looked 
round, saw it was Arthur Channing who entered, rose from his 
seat, and awaited his approach. 

' "Will you pardon my intruding upon you here,- Mr. Dean ?' he 
began, in his gentle, courteous manner; and with the urgency of 
the occasion, all his energy seemed to come to him. Timidity and 
tremor vanished, and he stood before the dean, a true gentleman 
and a fearless one. The dean still wore his surplice, and his 
trencher lay on the table near him. Arthur placed his own hat by 
its side. * Mr. "Williams has just informed me that you cast a 
'^oubt as to the propriety of my still taking the organ,' he added. 

* True,' said the dean. * It is not fitting that one, upon whom 
so heavy an imputation lies, should be allowed to continue his duty 
in this Cathedral.' 

' But, sir — if that imputation be a mistaken one ?' 

* How are we to know that it is a mistaken one ?* demanded the 
dean. 

Arthur paused. 'Sir, will you take my word for it? I am in- 
capable of telling a lie. 1 have come to you to defend my own 
eause ; and yet I can only do it by my bare word of assertion. You 
are not a stranger to the circumstances of my family, Mr. Bean ; 
and I honestly avow that if this post is taken from me, it will be 
felt as a serious loss. I have lost what little I had from Mr. Gallo- 
way ; I trust I shall not lose this.' 

* You know, Channing, that I should be the last to do an unjust 
thing ; you also may be aware that I respect your family very much,' 
was the dean's reply. * But this crime which has been laid to your 
charge is a heavy one. If y^ were guilty of it, it cannot be over- 
looked.' 

* I was not guilty of it,' Arthur impressively said, his tone full ol 
emotion * Sir ! Mr. Dean ! believe me. When I shall come to an- 



< 



THE OHANNINGS. 5l5 

swer to my Maker for my doings upon earth, 1 Ccannot spciik with 
more earnest truth than I now speak to you. I am entirely inno- 
;ent of the charge. I did not touch the money ; I did not know 
Ihat the money was lost, until Mr. Galloway announced it to me 
some days afterwards.' 

The dean gazed at Arthur as he stood before him ; at his tall 
form — noble even in its youthfulness— his fine ingenuous counte- 
nance, his earnest eye ; it was impossible to associate such with 
the brand of guilt, and the dean's suspicious doubts melted away. 
If ever uprightness was depicted unmistakably in a human counte- 
nance, it shone out then from Arthur Channing's. 

' But there appears, then, to be some mystery attaching to tho 
loss, to the proceedings altogether,' debated the dean. 

' No doubt there may be ; no doubt there is,' was the reply of 
Arthur. ' Sir,' he impulsively added, ' will you stand my friend, so 
far as to grant me a boon ?' 

The dean wondered what he meant. 

' Although I have thus asserted my innocence to you ; and it is 
the solemn truth ; there are reasons why I do not wish to speak out 
so unequivocally to others. Will you kindly regard this Interview 
as a confidential one — not speaking of its purport even to Mr 
Galloway ?' 

' But why ?' asked the dean. 

' I cannot explain. I can only throw myself upon your kindness, 
Mr. Dean, to grant the request. Indeed,' he added, his face flush- 
ing, ' my motive is an urgent one.' 

* The interview was not of my seeking, so you may have your 
boon,' said the dean, kindly. * But I cannot see why you should 
not publicly assert it, if, as you say, you are innocent.' 

' Indeed, I am innocent,' repeated Arthur. ' Should one ray of 
elucidation ever be thrown upon the affair, you will see, Mr. Dean, 
that I have spoken truth.' 

* I will accept it as truth,' said the dean. ' You may continue to 
take the organ.' 

'I knew God would be with me in the interview!' thought 
Arthur, as he thanked the dean and left the Chapter House. 

He did not go home immediately. He had a commission to exe- 
cute in the town, and went to do it. It took him about an hour, 
which brought it to five o'clock. In j-eturning through tho Boun- 
\lanc8 he encountered Iceland Yorke, just released from that bane 
of his life, the office, for tho day. Arthur told liim how near he 
had been to losing the Cathedral. 



216 THE CHANirrNQS 

* Jjj Jove !' uttered Eoland, flying into one of his indignant fits 
* A nice dean he is ! He'd deserve to lose his own pUice, if he had 
done it.' 

' Well, the danger is over for the present. I say, Yorke, does 
Galloway talk much about it ?' 

' Not he,' answered Eoland. * He is as sullen and crabbed as any 
old bear. I say to Jenkins that he is in a passion with himself for 
having sent you away, and I don't care if he hears me. There's an 
awful amount to do since you went. I and Jenkins are worked to 
death. And there'll be the busiest time in all the year coming on 
soon, with the autumn rents and leases. I sha'n't stop long in 
it, I know !' 

Smiling at Eoland's account of being * worked to death,' for he 
knew how much the assertion was worth, Arthur continued his 
way. Eoland continued his, and, on entering his own house, met 
Constance Channing leaving it. He exchanged a fbw words of 
chatter with her, though it struck him that she looked unusually 
sad, and then found his way to the presence of his mother. 

* What an uncommon pretty girl that Constance Channing is !' 
quoth he, in his free, unceremonious fashion. ' I wonder she con- 
descends to come here to teach the girls !' 

'I think I shall dismiss her, Eoland,' said Lady Augusta. 

' I expect she'll dismiss herself, ma'am, without waiting for you 
to do it, now William Yorke has found bread and cheese, and a 
house to eat it in,' returned Eoland, throwing himself at full length 
on a sofa. 

'Then you expect wrong,' answered Lady Augusta. 'If Miss 
Channing leaves, it will be by my dismissal. And I am not sure 
but I shall do it,' she added, nodding her head. 

'What for?' asked Eoland, lazily. 

* It is not pleasant to retain, as instructress to my children, ono 
whose brother is a thief.' 

Eoland tumbled off the sofa, and rose up with a great cry — a cry 
of passionate anger, of aroused indignation. ' What ?' he thun- 
dered. 

' Good gracious ! are you going mad ?' uttered my lady. ' What 
is Arthur Channing to you, that you should tako up his cause in 
this startling way upon every possible occasion?' 

' He is this to me — that he has got nobody else to stand up for 
liim,' stuttered Roland, so excited as to impede his utterance. ' We 
wore both in the same office, and the shameful charge might have 
been cast upon me, as it was cast upon him ; it was all chance ; 



THE CHANNINGS. 217 

fuck. Channing is as innocent of it as you, mother ; he is as inno- 
cent as that precious dean, who has been wondering whether be 
shall dismiss him from the Cathedral. A charitable lot you all 
are !' 

* I'm sure I don't want to be uncharitable,' cried Lady Augusta, 
whoso heart was kind enough in the main. ' And I am sure the 
dean never was uncharitable in his life : he is too good and enlight- 
ened a man to be uncharitable. Half the town says he must be 
guilty, and what is one to think ? Then you would not recom- 
mend me to let it make any difference to Miss Channing's coming 
here ?' 

' No !' burst forth Eolaud, in a tone that might have brought 
down tiie roof, had it been glass. *rd scorn such wicked in- 
justice.' 

' If I were you, I'd " scorn " putting myself into these fiery tem- 
pers, upon other people's business,' cried my lady. 

* It is my business,' retorted Eoland. ' Better go into tempers 
than be hard and unjust. "What would William Yorke sav at your 
speaking so of Miss Channing ?' 

Lady Augusta smiled. ' It was the hearing what William Yovke 
had done that nearly decided me. He has broken with Miss Chan- 
ning. And he has done well, Eoland. It is not fit that he should 
take his wife from a disgraced family. I have been telhng him so 
ever since it happened.' 

Eoland stood before her, as if unable to digest the news : his 
mouth open, his eyes staring. * It is not true !' he shrieked. 

' Indeed, it is perfectly true. I gathered a suspicion of it from 
William Yorke's manner to-day, and I put the question plainly to 
IMiss Channing herself. *' Had they parted in consequence of this 
business of Arthur's ?" She acknowledged that it was so.' 

Eoland turned white with honest anger. He dashed his hair 
from his brow, where the moisture stood in drops like peas. And 
with an ugly word, which would be more ugly still if written, he 
dashed do^vn the stairs four at a time, and flung out of the house; 
probably with the intention of having a little personal explosion 
with the Eeverend William Yorke. 



gl8 THE CHANNINGS. 



CHAPTER XXTX. 

A TASTE OF * TAN.' 

The cloisters of Helstonleigh were echoing with the somicLs of a 
loud dispute, according as little with their sacred character, as 
with the fair beauty of the summer's afternoon. 

The excitement caused in the college school by the rumour of 
Lady Augusta Yorke's having obtained the promise of the head- 
master that her son should be promoted to the seniorship over the 
heads of Channing and Huntley, had been smouldering ominously, 
and gathering all the more strength from the very fact that the 
boys appeared to be powerless in it. Powerless they were : in spite 
of Tom Channing's boast at the dinner-table that the school would 
not stand it tamely, and his meaning nod when Hamish had mock- 
ingly inquired whether the school intended to send Lady Augusta a 
challenge, or to recommend Mr. Pye to the surveillance of the 
dean. 

In the first flow of their indignation, the boys, ringing the changes 
of rebellion freely, had avowed to one another that they would ac- 
quaint the dean with the head-master's adoption of favouritism, and 
request his interference — like too many of us do when things hap- 
pen that annoy us. We are only too prone to speak out our mind ; 
to proclaim what our remedy or revenge shall be. We will do this, 
or do the other. The boasts seem feasible while our anger lasts* 
but when that has subsided into reason and coolness, and we see 
things in their true light, untinged by prejudice, we find that those 
boasts were but loud talking, and will not do to act upon. Thus it 
was with the Helstonleigh college boys. They had hurled forth in 
threats their indignation at the master, they had pretty nearly 
conned over the very words in which they should make known 
their grievance to the dean ; but when the practical part came to 
be considered, their courage oozed out at their fingers' ends. The 
mice, you remember, passed a resolution in solemn conclave that 
their enemy, the old cat, should be belled : an excellent precaution, 
and only lacking one little facility to render it an efficient one — no 
mouse would undertake to do it. 

To prefer a complaint to the dean of their head-master was a 



J 



THE CHANNINGfl. 219 

daring measure; sucli as the school with all its hardihood, had 
never yet attempted. It might recoil upon themselves ; might bo 
productive of no benefit to the question at issue, and only end in 
making the master their enemy. On the other hand, the boys were 
fully resolved not to submit tamely to a piece of favouritism so un- 
just, without doing something. In the midst of this perplexity, 
one of them suddenly mooted the suggestion that a written memo- 
rial should be sent to the head-master from the school collectively, 
respectfully requesting him to allow the choice of senior to be 
made in the legitimate order of things, by merit or priority, but 
not by favour. 

Lame as the suggestion was, the majority were for its adoption 
simply because no other plan could be hit upon. Some were 
against it. Hot arguments prevailed on both sides, and a few per- 
sonal compliments rather tending to break the peace, had been ex- 
changed. The senior boy held himself aloof from acting personally : 
it was his place they were fighting for. Tom Channing and Hunt- 
ley were red-hot against what they called the ' sneaking,* meaning 
the underhand work. Gerald Yorke was equally hot for non-inter- 
ference, either to the master or the dean. Yorke protested it was 
not in the least true that Lady Augusta had been promised any- 
thing of the sort. In point of fact, there was no proof that she 
had, except her own assertion, made in the hearing of Jenkins. 
Gerald gravely declared that Jenkins had gone to sleep and dreamt 
it. 

Affairs had been going on in a cross-grained sort of manner all 
day. The school, taking it as a whole, had been inattentive ; Mr. 
Pye had been severe ; the second master had caned a whole desk, 
and threatened another, and double lessons had been set the upper 
boys for the following morning. Altogether, when the gentlemen 
were released at five o'clock, they were not in the sweetest of tem- 
pers, and entered upon a wordy war in the cloisters. 

'What possessed you to take and tear up that paper you were 
surreptitiously scribbling at, when Pye ordered you to go up and 
hand it in?' demanded Gaunt, of George Brittle. * It was that 
which put him oat with us all. Was it a love-letter ?' 

* Who was to think he'd go and ask for it ?' returned Brittle, an 
indifferent sort of gentleman, who liked to take things cool and 
easy. * Guess what it was.' 

' Don't talk to me about guessing !' imperiously spoke Gaunt. * I 
ask you what it was ?' 

* Nothing less than the memorial to himself,' laughed Brittle. 



220 THE :hannings. 

* Some of us made a rough shell of it, and I thought I'd set on and 
copy it fair. When old Pye's voice came thundering, "What's 
that you are so stealthily busy over, Mr. Brittle ?— hand it in," of 
course I could only tear it into minute pieces, and pretend to be 
deaf.' 

' You had best not try it on again,' said Gaunt. * Nothing puts 
out Pye like disobeying him to his face.' 

' Oh, doesn't it, though !' returned Brittle. * Cribs put him out 
the worst. He thought that was a crib, or he'd not have been sc 
eager for it.' 

' What sort of a shell is it ?' asked Harry Huntley. ' Who 
drew it out ?' 

' It won't do at all,' interposed Hurst. * The head of it is, " Se- 
vered master," and the tail, "Yours afifectionately." ' 

A shout of laughter ; Brittle's voice rose above the noise. ' And 
the middle is an eloquent piece of composition, calculated to take 
the master's obdurate heart by storm, and move it to redress om' 
wrongs.' 

' We have no wrongs to redress of that sort,' cried Gerald Yorke. 

* Being an interested party, you ought to keep your mouth shut, 
called out Hurst to Yorke. 

' Keep yours shut first,' retorted Yorke to Hurst. * Not being in- 
terested, there's no need to open yours at all.' 

' Let's see the thing,' said Huntley. 

Brittle drew from his pocket a sheet of a copy-book, tumbled, 
blotted, scribbled upon with the elegance that only a schoolboy 
can display. Several heads had been laid together, and a sketch of 
the memorial drawn out between them. Shorn of what Hurst had 
figm-atively called the head and tail, and which had been appended 
for nonsense, it was not a bad production. The boys clustered 
round Brittle, looking over his shoulder, as he read the composition 
aloud for the benefit of those who could not elbow space to see. 

* It wouldn't be bad,' said Huntley, critically, ' if it were done 
into good grammar.' 

' Into what ?' roared Brittle. * The grammar's as good as you 
can produce any day, Huntley. Come !' 

*I'll correct it for you,' said Huntley, coolly. 'There are a 
dozen faults in it.' 

' The arrogance of those upper-desk fellows !' ejaculated Brittle. 

* The stops arc not put in yet, and they have not the gumption to 
allow for them. You'll see what it is when it shall be written out 
properly, Huntley. It might be sent to the British Museum as a 



THE CHANNINGS. 221 

marvel of good English, there to be framed and glazed. J'U do it 
to-uight/ 

' It's no business of yours, Mr. Brittle, that you should interfere 
to take an active part in it,' resumed Gerald Yorke. 

' No business of mine ! That's good ! When I am thinking of 
going in for the seniorship myself another time !' 

' It's the business of the whole batch of us, if you come to that !' 
roared Bywater, trying to accomplish the difficult feat of standing 
on his head on the open mullioned window-frame, thereby running 
the danger of coming to grief down amid the gravestones and grass 
of the College burial-yard. ' If Pye does not get called to order 
now, he may lapse into the habit of passing over hard-working fel- 
lows with brains, to exalt some good-for-nothing cake with none, 
because he happens to have a Dutchman for his mother. That 
would wash, that would !' 

' You, Bywater ! you ! do you mean that for me ?' hotly de- 
manded Gerald Yorke. 

' As if I did !' laughed Bywater. 'As if I meant it for any cake 
m particular ! Unless the cap happens to fit 'em. I don't say it 
does.' 

' The thing is this,' struck in Hurst : * who will sign the paper ? 
It's of no use for Brittle, or any other fellow, to be at the bother of 
^vriting it out, if nobody can be got to sign it.' 

* What do you mean ? The school's ready to sign it.* 

* Are the seniors ?' 

With the seniors there was a hitch. Gaunt put himself practi- 
cally out of the affair ; Gerald Yorke would not sign it ; and Chan- 
ning could not. Huntley alone remained. 

Why could not Channing sign it ? Ah, there was the lever that 
was swaying and agitating the whole school this afternoon. Poor 
Tom Channing was not just now reposing upon rose-leaves. What 
with his fiery temper and his fieiy pride, Tom had enough to do to 
keep himself within bounds ; for the school was resenting upon him 
the stigma that had fallen upon Arthur. Not the whole school ; 
but quite sufficient of it. Not that they openly attacked Tom ; he 
could have repaid that in kind; but they were sendmg him to 
Coventry. Some said they would not sign a petition to the master 
lieaded by Tom Channing— Tom, you remember, standing on the 
rolls next to Gaunt ; they said that if Tom Channing were to suc- 
ceed as senior of the school, the school would rise up in open re- 
bellion. That this feeling against him was very much fostered by 
the Yorkes, there was no doubt. Gerald was actuated by a two- 



222 THE CHANNLNG8. 

fold motive, one of which was, that it enhanced his own chance ol 
the seniorship. The other arose from resentment against Arthur 
Channing, for having brought disgrace upon the office, which con- 
tained his brother Eoland. Tod fraternized in this matter with 
Gerald, albeit the same could not be said of him in general ; no 
two brothers in the school agreed less well than did the Yorkes. 
Both of them fully believed Arthur to be guilty. 

* As good have the thing out now, and settle it,' exclaimed Griffin, 
who came next to Gerald Yorke, and would be the fourth senior 
when Gaunt should leave. * Are you fellows going to sign it, or 
not?' 

* To whom do you speak ?' demanded Gaimt. 

*Well, I speak to all,' said Griffin, a good-humoured lad, but 
terriby mischievous, and, for some cause best known to himself, 
warmly espousing the cause of Gerald Yorke. ' Shall you sign it, 
Gaunt?' 

* No. But I don't say that I disapprove of it, mind you,' added 
Gaunt. ' Were I going in for the seniorship, and one below me 
were suddenly hoisted above my head and made cock of the walk, 
I'd know the reason why. It is not talking that would satisfy me, 
or grumbling either ; I'd act.' 

'Gaunt doesn't sign it,' proceeded Griffin, telling off the names 
upon his fingers. 'That's one. Huntley, do you?' 

' I don't come next to Gaunt,' was Huntley's answer. * I'll speak 
in my right turn.' 

Tom Channing stood near to Huntley, his trencher stuck aside on 
his head, his honest face glowing. One arm was full of books, the 
other rested on his hip : his whole attitude bespoke self-possession ; 
his looks, defiance. Griffin went on. 

' Gerald Yorke, do you sign it ?' 

*I'd see it further, first.' 

'That's two disposed of, Gaunt and Yorke,' pursued Griffin. 
* Huntley, there's only you.' 

Huntley gave a petulant stamp. ' I have told you I will not 
speak out of my turn. Yes, I will speak, though, as we want the 
affair set at rest,' he resumed, changing his mind abruptly. ' If 
Channing signs it, I will. There ! Channing, will you sign it ?' 

' Yes, I will,' said Tom. 

Then it was that the hubbub arose, the quarrelling, converting 
the cloisters into an arena. One word led to another. Fiery blood 
bubbled up ; harsh things were spoken. Gerald Yorke and his party 
reproached Tom Channing with being a disgrace to the school's char- 



THE CHANNING8. 223 

ter, through his brother Arthur. Huntley and a few more warmly 
espoused Tom's cause, of whom saucy By water was one, who roared 
out cutting sarcasms from his gymnasium on the window-frame. 
Tom controlled himself better than might have been expected, but 
he and Gerald Yorke flung passionate retorts one to the other. 

' It is not fair to cast in a fellow's teeth the shortcomings of his 
relations,' continued Bywater. ' What with our uncles and cousins, 
and mothers and grandmothers, there's sure to be one among them 
that goes off the square. Look at that rich lot, next door to Lady 
Augusta's, with their carriages and servants, and soirees, and all 
the rest of their grandeur! — their uncle was hanged for sheep- 
stealing.' 

* I'd rather steal a sheep and be hanged for it, than I'd help my- 
self to a nasty bit of paltry money, and then deny that I did it !' 
foamed Gerald. ' The suspicion might have fallen on my brother, 
but that he happened, by good luck, to be away that afternoon. 
My opinion is, that Arthur Channing intended the suspicion to fall 
upon him.' 

A howl from Bywater. He had gone over, head foremost, to 
make acquaintance with the graves. They were too much en- 
grossed to heed him. 

' Your brother was a vast deal more likely to have helped himself 
to it, than Arthur Channing,' raged Tom. ' He does a hundred dirty 
things every day, that a Channing would rather cut off his arm than 
attempt.' 

The disputants' faces were nearly touching each other, and very 
fiery faces they were — that is, speaking figuratively. U'om's cer- 
tainly was red enough, but Gerald's was white — white with passion. 
Some of the bigger boys stood close to prevent blows, which Gaunt 
was forbidding. 

' I k?iow he did it ! ' shrieked G erald. * There ! ' 

* Y ou can't know it !' stamped Tom. * You don't know it !* 
I do. And for two pins I'd tell.* 

The boast was a vain boast, the heat of passion alone prompting 
it. Gerald Yorke was not scrupulously particular in calm moments ; 
but little reeked he what he said in violent ones. Tom repudiated 
it with scorn. But there was another upon whom the words fell 
with intense fear. 

And that was Charley Channing. Misled by Gerald's positive 
and earnest tone, the boy really believed there must be some foun- 
dation for the assertion. A wild fear seized him, lest Gerald should 
proclaim some starthng fact, conveying a conviction of Arthur's 



224 THE CTIAKNINGS. 

guilt to the minds of the school. The blood forsook his face, his 
lips trembled, and he pushed his way through the throng till he 
touched Gerald. 

' Don't say it, Gerald Yorke ! Don't !' he imploringly whispered, 
* 1 have kept counsel for you.' 

' What ?' said Gerald, wheeling round. 

' I have kept your counsel about the surplice. Keep Arthur's in 
return, if you do know anything against him.' 

I wish you could have witnessed the change in Gerald Yorke's 
countenance ! A streak of scarlet crossed its pallor, his eyes blazed 
forth defiance, and a tremor, as of fear, momentarily shook him. 
To the surprise of the boys, who had no notion what might have 
been the purport of Charley's whisper, he seized the boy by the 
arm, and fiercely dragged him away up the cloisters, turning the 
corner into the west quadrangle. 

* Get down !' he hissed ; ' get down upon your knees, and swear 
that you'll never breathe a syllable of that caluiwny again ! Do you 
hear me, boy ?* 

' No, I will not get down,' said brave Charley. 

Gerald drew in his lips. ' You have heard of a wild tiger, my 
boy ? There was one escaped from a caravan the other day, and 
killed a few. I am worse than a wild tiger now, and you had better 
not provoke me. Swear it, or I'll kill you 1' 

*I will not swear,' repeated the child. * I'll try and keep the 
v/ord I gave you, not to betray about the surplice — I will indeed ; 
but don't you say again, please, that Arthur is guilty.' 

To talk of killing somebody, and to set about doing it, are two 
things. Gerald Yorke's ' killing ' would have amounted to no more 
than a good thrashing. He held the victim at arm's length, his 
eyes dilating, his right hand raised, when a head was suddenly 
propelled close upon them from the graveyard. Gerald was so 
startled as to drop his hold of Charley. 

The head belonged to Stephen Bywater, who must have crept 
across the burial-ground and chosen that spot to emerge in, at- 
tracted probably by the noise. 'What's the row?' asked he. 

' I was about to give Miss Channing a taste of tan,' replied Gerald, 
who appeared to suddenly cool down from his passion. * He'd have 
got it sweetly, had you not come up. I'll tan you too, Mr. By 
water, if you come thrusting yourself, like that, where you are not 
expected, and not wanted.' 

' Tan away,' coolly responded Bywater. ' I can tan again. What 
had the young one been up to ?' 



THE CHANNINGS. 225 

* Impudence,- shortly answered Yorkc. * Mark yon, Miss Chau- 
ning ! I have not done with you, though it is my pleasure to let 
you off" for the present. Halloa ! What's that ?' 

It was a tremendous sound of shrieking and yelling, as if some 
one amid the throng of boys was getting * tanned ' there. Gerald 
and Charley flew off towards it, followed by By water, who propelled 
himself upwards through the mullioned frame in the best manner 
that he could. The sufferer proved to be Tod Yorke, who was 
writhing under the sharp correction of some tall fellow, six feet 
high. To the surprise of Gerald, he recognized his brother Eoland. 

You may remember it was stated in the last chapter that Eoland 
Yorke flew off, in wild indignation, from Lady Augusta's news of 
the parting of the Eeverend Mr. Yorke and Constance Channing. 
Eoland, in much inward commotion, was striding through the clois- 
ters on his way to find that reverend divine, when ho strode up to 
the throng of disputants, who were far too much preoccupied with 
their own concerns to observe him.v The first distinct voice that 
struck upon Eoland's ear above the general hubbub, was that of 
his brother Tod. 

When Gerald had rushed away with Charley Channing, it had 
struck Tod that he could not do better than take up the dispute on 
his own score. He forced himself through the crowd to where 
Gerald had stood in front of Tom Channing, and began. For some 
little time the confusion was so great he could not be heard, but 
Tod persevered ; his manner was overbearing, his voice a loud one. 

' I say that Tom Channing might have the decency to take him- 
self out of the school. When our friends put us into it, they 
didn't expect we should have to consort with thieves' brothers.' 

* You contemptible little reptile ! how dare you presume to cast 
aspersion at my brother ?' scornfully uttered Tom. And the scorn 
was all he threw at him ; for the seniors disdained, whatever the 
provocation, to attack personally those younger and less than them- 
selves. Tod Yorke knew this. 

* How dare I ! Oh !' danced Tod. ' I dare because I dare, and 
because it's true. When my brother Gerald says he knows it was 
Arthur Channing helped himself to the note, he does know it. Do 
you think,' he added, improving upon Gerald's suggestion, ' that my 
brother Eoland could be in the same office, and not know that ho 
helped himself to it ? lie •' 

It was at this unlucky moment that Eoland had come up. He 
heard the words, dashed the intervening boys right and left, caught 
hold of Mr. Tod by the collar of his jacket, and lifted him from tho 

Q 



226 THE OHANNINGS. 

ground, as an angry lion migM lift a contemptible little a\ninal 
which had enraged him. Koland Yorke was not an inapt type of 
an angiy lion then, with his panting breath, his blazing eye, and 
his working nostrils. 

' Take that ! and that ! and that !' cried he, giving Tod a taste 
of his strength. * You speak against Arthur Channing !— take that 1 
You false little hound ! — and that ! Let me catch you at it again, 
and I won't leave a whole bone in your body !' 

Tod writhed ; Tod howled ; Tod shrieked ; Tod roared for mercy. 
All in vain. Eoland continued his * and thats !' and Gerald and the 
other two absentees came leaping up. Eoland loosed him then, and 
turned his flashing eyes upon Gerald. 

' Is it true that you said you knew Arthur Channing took the 
bank-note ?' 

' What if I did ?' retorted Gerald. 

' Then you told a lie ! A lie as false as you are. If you don't eat 
your words, you are a disgrace to the name of Yorke. Boys, be^ 
lieve mel' flashed Eoland, turning to the wondering throng— 
* Gaunt, you believe me — Arthur Channing never did take the note. 
I know it. I know it, I tell you ! I don't care who it was took it, 
but it was not Arthur Channing. If you listen again to his false 
assertions,' pointing scornfully to Gerald, * you'll show yourselves 
to be sneaking curs.' 

Eoland stopped for want of breath. Bold Bywater, who was 
sue to find his tongue before anybody else, elbowed his way to the 
inner circle, and flourished about there, in complete disregard of 
the sad state of dilapidation he was in behind ; a large portion of a 
very necessary article of attire having been, in some unaccountable 
manner, torn away by his recent fall. 

' That's right, Eoland Yorke !' cried he. * I'd sco.:i the action of 
bringing up a fellow's relations against him. "Whether Arthur Chan- 
ning took the note, or whether he didn't, what has that got to do 
with Tom ? — or with us ? They are saying, some of them, that 
Tom Channing shan't sign a petition to the master about the senior- 
ship!' 

'What petition?' uttered Eoland, who had not calmed down a 
whit. 

* Why ! about Pye giving it to Gerald Yorke, over the others* 
heads,' returned Bywater. * Tou know Gerald'* crowing over it, 
like anything, but I say it's a shame. I heard him and Griffin say 
this morning, that there was only Huntley to get over, now Tom 
Channing was put out of it through the bother about Arthur. 



I 



THE CHANNINGS, 227 

* Wtat's tlio dean about, that ho docs not give Pye a word of a 
BOit ?' asked Eoland. 

' The dean ! If we could only get to tell the dean, it might bo 
all right. But none of us dare.' 

' Thank you for your defence of Arthur,' said Tom Channing to 
Eoland Yorke, as the latter was striding away. 

Eoland looked back. ' I am ashamed for all the lot of you ! you 
might know that Arthur Channing needs no defence. He should 
not be aspersed in my school, Gaunt, if I were senior.' 

What with one thing and another, Eoland's temper had not been 
so aroused for many a-day. Gaunt ran after him, but Eoland 
would not turn his head, or speak. 

* Your brothers are excited against Tom Channing, and thn.t 
makes them hard upon him, with regard to this accusation of 
Arthur,' observed Ga'»,nt. ' Tom has gone on above a bit, about 
Gerald's getting his seniorship over him and Huntley. Tom 
Channing can go on at a splittmg rate when he likes, and he has not 
spared his tongue. Gerald, being the party interested, does not like 
it. That's what they wur> having a row over, w^hen you came up.' 

'Gerald has no more rjght to be put over Tom Channing's head, 
than you have to be put over Pye's,' said Eoland, angrily. 

' Of course he has not,' replied Gaunt. ' But things don't go by 
"rights," you know. This business of Arthur Channing's has 
been quite a windfall for Gerald ; he makes it into an additional 
reason why Tom, at any rate, should not have the seniorship. 
And there only remains Huntley.' 

' He does, does he 1' exclaimed Eoland. ' If the dean 

Eoland's voice — it had not been a soft one — died away. The 
dean himself appeared suddenly at the door of the chapter-house, 
which they were then passing, Eoland raised his hat, and Gaunt 
touched his trencher. The dean accosted the latter, his tone and 
manner less serene than usual. 

* What is the cause of this unusual noise. Gaunt ? It has 
disturbed me in my reading. If the cloisters are to be turned 
into a bear-garden, I shaU certainly order them to be closed to 
the boys.' 

'in go and stop it at once, sir,' replied Gaunt, touching his 
trencher again, as he hastily retired. He had no idea that the 
rlean was in the chapter-house. 

Eoland, taking no time for consideration — he very rarely did 
take it, or any of the Yorkes— burst forth with the grievance to 
the dean. Not that Eoland was one who cared much about justice 

q2 



228 THE CTIANWINQS. 

or injustice in the abstract ; but lie was feeling excessively wrath 
with Gerald, and in a humour to espouse Tom Channing's causff 
against the world. 

' The college boys are in a state of semi-rebellion, Mr. Dean, 
and are not so quiet under it as they might be. They would like 
to bring their cause of complaint to you ; but they don't dare.' 

* Indeed !' said the dean. 

* The senior boy leaves the school at Michaelmas,' went oh 
Roland, scarcely giving the dean time to say the word. ' The one 
who stands first to step into his place is Tom Channing ; the next 
is Huntley ; the last is Gerald Yorke. There is a belief afloat 
that Mr. Pye means to pass over the two first, without reference 
to their merits or their rights, and to bestow it upon Gerald Yorke. 
The rumour is, that he has promised this to my mother, Lady 
Augusta. Ought this to be so, Mr, Dean ? — although my asking 
it may seem to be opposed to Lady Augusta's wishes and my 
brother's interests.' 

' Where have you heard this ?' inquired the dean. 

' Oh, the whole town is talking of it, sir. Of course, that docs 
not prove its truth ; but the college boys believe it. They think,' 
said Eoland, pointedly, 'that the dean ought to ascertain its 
grounds of foundation, and to interfere. Tom Channing is bearing 
ihe brunt of this false accusation on his brother, which some of 
the cowards are casting to him. It would be too bad were Pye 
to deprive him of the seniorship !' 

* You deem the accusation on Arthur Channing to be a false one ?' 
returned the dean. 

* There never was a more false accusation brought in this world,' 
replied Eoland, relapsing into excitement. * I would answer for 
Arthur Channing with my own life. He is entirely innocent. 
Good afternoon, Mr. Dean. If I stop longer, I may say more 
than's polite ; there's no telling. Things that I have heard this 
afternoon have put my temper up.' 

He strode away towards the west door, leaving the dean looking 
after him with a smile. The dean had been on terms of friendship 
with Dr. Yorke, and was intimate with his family. Poland's 
words were a somewhat singular corroboration of Arthur Chan- 
ning's private defence to the dean but an hour before. 

Meanwhile Gaunt had gone up to scatter the noisy crew. * A 
nice row you have got me into with your quarrelling,' he exclaimed. 
* The dean has been in the chapter-house all the while, and isn't ha 
in a passion ! Ho threatens to shut up the cloisters.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 220 

The announcement Drought stillness, chagrin. * "What a bother- 
ing old duff he is, that dean !' uttered Eywai>er. * He is always 
turning up when he's not wanted.' 

' Take your books, and disperse in silence,' was the command of 
the senior boy. 

' Stop a bit,' said By water, turning himself round and about for 
general inspection. * Look at me ! Can I go home ?' 

* My !' roared the boys, who had been too pre-occupied to bo 
observant. * Haven't they come to grief!' 

' But can I go through the streets ?' 

* Law, yes ! Make a rush for it. Tell the folks you have been 
in the wars.' 

CHAPTER XXX. 

THE DEPARTURE. 

I LIKE to see the skies fair and the sun shining, on the morning 
fixed for a journey. It seems to whisper a promise that satis- 
faction from that journey shall bo in store: a foolish notion, no 
doubt, but a pleasant one. 

Never did there arise a more lovely morning to gladden the 
world, than that fixed for Mr. and Mrs. Channing's departure. 
The August sky was without a cloud, the early dew glittered in 
the sun, and the bees and butterflies sported amidst the opening 
flowers. 

Mr. Channing was up betimes, and had gathered his children 
around him — all. Tom and Charles had, by permission, holiday 
that morning from early school, and Constance had not gone tc 
Lady Augusta Yorke's. The very excitement and bustle of 
preparation had appeared to have a beneficial effect upon Mr. 
Channing ; perhaps it was the effect of the great hope which had 
seated itself in his heart, and was at work there. But Mr. Chan- 
ning did not count upon this hope one whit more than he could 
help ; for disappointment might be the ending. In this, the hour 
of parting from his home and his children, the hopo seemed to 
have buried itself five fathom deep, if not to have died away com- 
pletely. Who, in a similar position to Mr. Channing, has not 
felt this depression on quitting a beloved home ? 

The parting had been less sad but for the dark cloud hanging 
over Arthnr. Mr. Channing had no resource but to believe him 
guilty, and his manner to him had grown cold and stem. It was 
a pleasing sight—could you have looked in upon it that morning— 



230 THE CHANNINGS. 

one that would put you in mind of that happier world where part> 

ings are not. 

For it was to that world that Mr. Channing had been carrying 
the thoughts of his children in these, the last moments. The Bible 
was before him, but all that he had chosen to read was a short 
psalm. And then he prayed God to bless them ; to keep them 
fiom evil; to be their all-powerful protector. There was not a dry 
eye present; and Charles and Annabel— Annabel with all her 
wiluness — sobbed aloud. 

lie was standing up now, supported by Hamish, his left hand 
leaning heavily, also for support, on the shoulder of Tom. Oh! 
but Arthur felt it keenly ! felt it as if his heart would break. It 
was Tom whom his father had especially called to his aid ; he was 
passed over. It was hard to bear. 

He was giving a word of advice, of charge to all. * Constance, 
my pretty one, the household is in your charge, you must take 
care of your brothers' comforts ; and, Hamish, my son, I leave 
Constance to the care of you. Tom, let me enjoin you to keep 
your temper within bounds, particularly with regard to that 
unsatisfactory matter, the feeniorship. Annabel, bo obedient to 
your sister, and give her no care ; and Charley, my little darhng, 
be loving and gentle as you always are. Upon my return — if I 
shall be spared to return ' 

' Father,' exclaimed Arthur, in a wailing burst of irrepressible 
feeling, ' have you no word for me T 

Mr. Channing laid his hand upon the head of Arthur. ' Bless, 
oh bless this my son !' he softly murmured. ' And may God forgive 
him, if he be indeed the erring one we fear !' 

But a few minutes had elapsed since Mr. Channing had repeated 
aloud the petition in the prayer taught us by our Saviour — ' Lead 
us not into temptation !' It had come quickly to one of his 
hearers. If ever temptation assailed a heart, it assailed Arthur's 
then. *■ Not I, father ; it is Hamish who is guilty ; it is for him 
I have to bear. Hamish, whom you are caressing, was the true 
culprit ; I, whom you despise, am innocent.' Words such as these 
might have hovered on Arthur's lips ; they were near doing it, but 
for the strangely imploring look cast to him from the tearful eyes of 
Constance, who read his struggle. Arthur remembered One who 
had endured temptation far greater than this ; who is ever ready 
to grant the same strength of patience to those who need it. A 
few moments, and the struggle and the temptation faded away, 
and he had not yielded to it. 



THE CHANNINGS. 231 

* Cliiidi-en, I do uot like these pai'tings. They always sadden 
my heart. They make me long for that life Avhero partings shall 
be no more. Oh, my dear ones, do you all strive on to attain to 
that blessed life ! Think what would be our woeful grief— if such 
caa assail us there ; if memory of the past may be allowed us — 
should we find any one of our dear ones absent — of you who now 
stand around me ! I speak to you all — not more to one than to 
another— absent through his own fault, his own sin, his own 
carelessness ! Oh, children ! you cannot tell my love for you — 
my anxious care ! — lest any of you should lose this inconceivable 
blessing. Work on; strive on; and if wo never meet again 
here ' 

' Oh, papa, papa,' wildly sobbed Annabel, * we shall meet again ! 
You will come back well.' 

* I trust we shall ! 1 do trust I may ! God is ever merciful 
and good. All I would have said was, that my life is uncertain ; 
that, if it be His will not to spare me, I shall but have preceded 
you to that better land. My blessing be upon you, my children ! 
God's blessing be upon you ! Fare you well.' 

In the bustle of getting Mr, Channing to the fly, Arthur was 
left alone with his mother. She clung to him, sobbing much. 
Even her faith in him was shaken. "When the rupture occurred 
between Mr. Yorke and Constance, Arthur never spoke up to say, 
' There is no cause for parting ; I am not guilty.' Mrs. Channing 
was not the only one who had expected him to say this, or some- 
thing equivalent; and she found her expectation vain. Arthur 
had maintained a studied silence ; of course it could only tell 
against him. 

' Mother ! my darling mother ! I would ask you to trust me 
still, but that I see how difficult it is for you!' he said, as hot 
tears were wrung from his aching heart. 

Hamish came in. Arthur, not caring to exhibit his emotion for 
everybody's benefit, retired to the distant window. * My father is 
in, all comfortable,' said Hamish. 'Mother, are you sure you 
have everything ? 

* Everything, I believe.' 

' Well— put this into your private purse, mother mine. You'll 
find a use for it.' 

It was a ten-pound note. Mrs. Channing began protesting she 
should have enough without it. 

' Mrs. Channing, I know your " enoughs," ' laughed Hamisli, in 
his very gayest and lightest tone. ' You'll be for going without 



232 THE CHANNINGS. 

dinner every other day, fearing the funds won't last. If you don't 
take it, I shall send it after you to-morrow.' 

' Thank you, my dear, considerate boy!' she gratefully said, as 
she put up the money, which would, in good truth, prove useful. 
* But how have you been able to get it for me P 

* As if a man could not save up his odd sixpences for a rainy 
day !' quoth Hamish. 

She implicitly believed him. She had entire faith in her darling 
Hamish ; and the story of his embarrassments had not reached her 
ear. Arthur heard all from his distant window. ' For that very 
money, given to my mother as a gift from Am, I must suffer,' was 
the rebellious thought that ran through his mind. 

' The fly started. Mr. and Mrs. Channing and Charley inside, 
Hamish on the box with the driver. Tom galloped to the station 
on foot. Of course the boys were eager to see them off. But 
Arthur, in his refined sensitiveness, would not put himself forward 
to make one ; and nobody asked him to do so. 

The train was on the point of starting. Mr. and Mrs. Channing 
were in. their places, certain arrangements having been made for 
the convenience of Mr. Channing, who was partially lying across 
from one seat to the other ; Hamish and the others were standing 
round for a last word, when there came one, fighting his way 
tlirough the platform's bustle, pushing porters, and anybody else 
who impeded his progress, to the right about. It was Eoland 
Yorke. 

* Haven't I come up at a splitting pace ! I overslept myself, Mr. 
Channing, and thought I should not be in time to give you a God- 
speed. I hope you'll have a pleasant time, and come back cured, 
sir!' 

' Thank you, Eoland. These heartfelt wishes from you all are 
very welcome.' 

'I say, Mr. Channing,' continued Eoland, leaning over the 
carriage window, in utter disregard to danger, * If you should 
hear of any good place abroad, that you think I might do for, I 
wish you'd speak a word for me.' 

'Place abroad?' repeated Mr. Channing, while Hamish burst 
into a laugh. 

' Yes,' said Eoland. ' My brother George knew a fellow who 
went over to Austria or Prussia, or some of those places, and 
dropped into a very good thing there, quite by accident. It was 
connected with one of the embassies, I think ; five or six hundred 
a year, and but little to do.' 



THE CIIANNINGS. 233 

Mr. Channing smiled. * Windfalls, like that, are rare. I fear I 
am not likely to liear of anything of the sort. But what has Mr. 
Galloway done to you, Koland ? You are a fixture with him.' 

' I am tired of Galloway's,' frankly confessed Eoland. * I didn't 
enjoy myself there before Arthur left, but I am fit to hang myself 
since, with nobody to speak to but that calf of a Jenkins ! If 
Galloway will take on Arthur again, and do him honour, I'll stop 
and make the best of it ; but, if he won't ' 

* Back ! back ! hands off there ! Are you mad ?' And amidst 
much shoutmg, and running, and dragging back careless Eoland 
out of danger, the train steamed out of the station. 



OHAPTEE XXXI. 



A POWERFUL steamer was cutting smoothly through the waters. 
The large expanse of sea lay around, dotted with its fishing-boats, 
which had come out with the night's tide : a magnificent vessel, her 
spars glittering in the rising sun, might be observed in the distance, 
and the grey, misty sky, overhead, gave promise of a hot and lovely 
day. 

Some of the passengers lay on deck, where they had stationed 
themselves the previous night, preferring its open air to the 
closeness of the cabins, in the event of rough weather. Eough 
weather they need not have feared. The passage had been perfectly 
calm ; the sea smooth as a lake ; not a breath of wind had there 
been to help the good ship upon her course ; steam had to do its 
full work. But for this dead calm, the fishing-craft would not be 
huddling in, close in-shore, looking like a shoal of sea-gulls, more 
than like themselves. Had a wind, ever so gentle, sprung up, they 
would have put out farther, to more prolific waters. 

A noise, a shout, a greeting ! and some of the passengers, already 
awake, but lying lazily yet, sprang up to see what caused it. It 
was a meeting steamer, bound for home, for the great metropolis 
which they had quitted not seventeen hours previously. The 
respective captains exchanged salutes from their places aloft, and 
the fine boats cut past each other. 

' Bon voyage ! hoi:- voyage V shouted out a little French boy to tlio 
retreating steamer. 

*^Vc have had a fine passage, captain,* observed a gentleman^ 



231 THE CHANNINaS. 

who was stretcliing himself and stamping about the deck, after his 
night's repose on the hard bench. 

* Middhng,' responded the captain, to whom a dead calm was not 
quite so agreeable as it was to his passengers. * Should ha' been in 
all the sooner for a breeze.' 

' How long shall we be, now ?' 

* A good time yet. Can't go along as if the wind was at our backs.' 
The steamer made good progress, however, in spite of not being 

uelped by the faithless wind. It glided up the Scheldt, and, by- 
and-by, the beautiful spire of Antwerp Cathedral was discerned, 
rising against the clear sky. Mrs. Channing, who had been one oif 
those early astir, went back to her husband. He was lying where 
he had been placed when the vessel left St. Katherine's Docks. 

' We shall soon be in, James. I wish you could see that noble 
spire. I have been searching for it ever so long ; it is in sight, 
now. Ilamish told me to keep a look-out for it.' 

' Did he ?' replied Mr. Channing. ' How did Hamish know it 
might be seen?' 

' From the guide-books, I suppose ; or by hearsay. Hamish 
seems to know everything. What a favourable passage wo have 
had !' 

' Ay,' said Mr. Channing. * What I should have done in a rough 
passage, I cannot tell. The dread of it has been pressing on me 
like a nightmare since our voyage was fixed.' 

Mrs. Channing smiled. * Troubles seldom come from the quarter 
we anticipate them.' 

Later, when Mrs. Channing was once more leaning over the side 
of t^e vessel, a man came up and put a card in her hand, jabbering 
away w, German to her at the same time. The Custom House 
officers had come on board then. 

' Oh, dear, if Constance were but here ! it is for the speaking that 
wo shall miss her,' thought Mrs. Channing. * I am sorry that I do 
not understand you,' she said, turning to the man. 

' Madame want an hot-el ? That hot-el a good one,' tapping the 
card with his finger, and dexterously turning the reverse side 
upward, where was set forth in English the desirableness of a 
certain Antwerpian hotel. 

' Thank you, but we make no stay at Antwerp ; we go straight on 
at once.' And she would have handed back the card. 

No, he would not receive it. * Madame might be wanting an 
hot-el at another time ; on her return, it might be. If so, would 
Bhe patronize it ? it was a good hot-el ; perfect !' 



i 



THE CHANNIKGS. 235 

!Mrs. Channing slipped the card into her reticule, and searched 
in her private directions to see what hotel Hamish had marked 
down, should they require one at Antwerp. She found it to be the 
Hotel de Pare; not the one recommended on the man's card. 
Hamish certainly had contrived to acquire for them a vast fund of 
information ; and, as it turned out, information to be rehed on. 

Breakfast was to be obtained on board the steamer, and they 
availed themselves of it, as did a few of the other passengers. 
Some delay occurred in the bringing the steamer to the side, after 
they arrived ; whether from that cause, or the captain's grievance 
— want of wind — or from both, they were in later than they ought to 
have been. When the first passenger put his foot on land, they 
had been out twenty hours. 

Mr. Channing was the last to be removed, as, with him, there 
was aid required. Mrs. -Channing stood on shore, at the head of 
the ladder, looking down anxiously, lest in any way hurt should 
come to him, when she found a hand laid upon her shoulder, and a 
familiar voice saluted her. 

' Mrs. Channing ! Who would have thought of seeing you here ! 
Have you dropped from the moon ? 

Not only was the voice familiar, but the face also. In the sur- 
prise of being so addressed, in the confusion around her, IMrs. 
Channing positively did not for a moment recognize it ; all she saw 
was, that it was a liome face. * Mr. Huntley I' she exclaimed, when 
she gathered her senses ; and, in the rush of pleasure of meeting 
him, of not feeling utterly alone in that strange land, she put both 
her hands into his. * I may return your question by asking where 
you have dropped from. 1 thought you were in the south of 
France.' 

' So I was,' he answered, * until a few days ago, when business 
brought me to Antwerp. A gentleman is living here whom I 
wished to see. Take care, my men !' he continued to the EngKsh 
sailors, who were carrying up Mr. Channing. ' Mind your footing.' 
But the ascent was accomplished in safety, and Mr. Channing 
placed in a carriage. 

* Do you understand their lingo ?' Mr. Huntley asked, as the 
landing- waiters talked and chattered around. 

' Not a syllable,' she answered. * I can manage a little French, 
but this is as a scaled book to me. Is it German or Flemish?' 

' Flemish, I conclude,' he said, laughingly ; * but my ears will not 
tell me, any more than yours. I should have done well to bring 
Kilen with me. She said to me, in her saucy way, " Papa, when 



236 THE 0IIA1JNING8. 

you get among the French and Germans, you will be M-ishing fa: 
me to interpret for you." ' 

* As I have been wishing for Constance,' replied Mrs. Channing. 
' In our young days, it was no more thought essential to learn 
German than it was to learn Hindustanee. French was only par- 
tially taught.' 

' Quite true,' said Mr, Huntley. * I managed to rub through 
France after a fashion, but I don't know what the natives thought 
of my French : what I did know, I have half forgotten. But, now 
for explanations. Of course, Mr. Channing is come to try the effect 
of the German springs ?' 

*Yes, and we have such hopes!' she answered. * There does 
appear to be a probability that not only relief, but a cure, may be 
effected ; otherwise, you may be sure we should not have ventured 
on the expense.' 

* I always said Mr. Channing ought to try them.* 

* Yery true ; you did so. We were only waiting, you know, for 
the termination of the chancery suit. It is terminated, Mr. 
Huntley ; and against us.' 

Mr. Huntley had been abroad since June, travelling in different 
parts of the Continent ; but he had heard from home regularly, 
chiefly from his daughter, and this loss of the suit was duly com- 
municated with other news. 

'Never mind,' said he to Mrs, Channing. 'Better luck next 
time.' 

He was of a remarkably gay, pleasant disposition, in temperament 
not unlike Hamish Channing. A man of keen intellect was Mr. 
Huntley ; hia fine face expressed it. The luggage collected, they 
rejoined Mr. Channing. 

' I have scarcely said a word to you,' Mr. Huntley cried, taking 
his hand. * But I am better pleased to see you here, than I should 
be anybody else living. It is the first step towards a cure. 
Where are you bound for ?' 

* For Borcette. It is ' 

•I know it,' interrupted Mr. Huntley. 'I was at it a year or 
two ago. One of the little Brunnens, near Aix-la-Chapelle. 1 
stayed a whole week there. I have a great mind to proceed 
thither with you, now, and settle you there.' 

' Oh, do !' exclaimed Mr. Channing, his face lighting up, as the 
faces of invalids will light up at the anticipated companionship of a 
friend. ' If you can spare the time, do come with us !' 

* My time is my own ; the business that brought me here is con- 



II 



THE CHANNINGS. 237 

eluded, and I was tliinking of leaving to-day. Having nothing to 
do after my early breakfast, I strolled down to watch in tbo 
London steamer, little thinking I should see you arrive by it. 
That's settled, then ; I will accompany you as far as Borcette, and 
sec you installed.' 

' When do you return home ?' 

' Now ; and glad enough I shall be to get there. Travelling is 
delightful for a change, but when you have had sufficient of it, 
home peeps out in the vista with all its charms.' 

The train which Mr. and Mrs. Channing had intended to take 
was already gone, through the delay in the steamer's reacliing 
Antwerp, and they had to wait for another. When it started, it 
had them safely in it, and Mr. Huntley with them. Their route lay 
through part of the Netherlands, through Malines, through some 
beautiful valleys ; so beautiful that it is worth going the whole 
distance from England to see. 

' What is this disturbance about the seniorship, and Lady 
Augusta Yorke ?' Mr. Huntley asked, as it suddenly occurred to 
his recollection, in the earlier part of their journey. 'Master 
Harry has WTitten me a letter full of notes of exclamation and 
indignation, saying I "ought to come home and see about it." 
What is it ?' 

Mr. Channing explained ; at least, as much as he knew of it 
to explain. ' It has given rise to a good deal of dissatisfaction in 
the school,' he added, 'but I cannot think, for my own part, that 
it can have any foundation. Mr. Pye would not be likely to give 
a promise of the kind, either to Lady Augusta, or to any other of 
the boys' friends.' 

'H he attempted to give one to me, I should throw it back to 
him with a word of a sort,' hastily rejoined Mr. Huntley, in a warm 
tone. ' Nothing can possibly be more unjust, than to elevate one 
boy over another's head undeservedly ; nothing, in my opinion, can 
be more pernicious. It is enough to render the boy himself unjust 
through his life ; to give him loose ideas of right and wrong. 
Have you not inquired into it ?' 

* No,' replied Mr. Channing. 

* T shall. If I find reason to suspect there may be cause, I sha'ii 
certainly inquire into it. Underhand work of that sort goes, with 
me, against the grain, I can stir in it with a better grace than you 
can,' Mr. Huntley added : ' my son being pretty sure not to succeed 
to the seniorship, so long as yours is above him to take it. Toni 
Channing will make a good senior; bettor than Harry would. 



238 THE CHANNINQS. 

Harry, in his easy indifference, -would snffer the school to lapso 
into insubordination ; Tom will keep a tight hand over it.' 

A sensation of pain darted across the heart of Mr. Channing. 
Only the day previous to his quitting home, he had accidentally 
heard a few words spoken between Tom and Charley, which had 
told him that Tom's chance of the seniorship was perilled, through 
the business connected with Arthur. Mr. Channing had then 
questioned Tom, and found that it was so. He must speak of 
this now to Mr. Huntley, however painful it might be to himself to 
do so. It were more manly to meet it openly than to bury it in 
silence, and let Mr. Huntley hear of it (if he had not yet heard of 
it) as soon as he got to Helstonleigh. 

*Have you heard anything particular about Arthur lately r' 
inquired Mr. Channing. 

* Of course I have,' was the answer. * Ellen did not fail to give 
mo a full account. I congratulate you on possessing such sons.' 

* Congratulate ! To what do you allude ?* asked Mr. Channing. 
*To Arthur's seeking after Jupp's place, as soon as he knew 

that the suit had failed. He's a true Channing. I am glad he got 
it' 

'Not to that— I did not allude to that,' hastily rejoined Mr. 
Channing. And then, with downcast eyes, and a downcast heart, 
he related sufficient to put Mr. Huntley in possession of the facts. 

Mr. Huntley heard the tale with incredulity, a smile of ridicule 
parting his lips. 'Suspect Arthur of theft!' he exclaimed. 
* What next ? Had I been in my place on the magistrates' bench 
that day, I should have dismissed the charge at once, upon such 
defective evidence. Channing, what is the matter ?' 

Mr. Channing laid his hand upon his aching brow, and Mr. 
Huntley had to bend over him to catch the whispered answer. ' T 
do fear that he may be guilty. If he is not guilty, some strange 
mystery altogether is attached to it.' 

' But why do you fear that he is guilty ?' asked IVIr. Huntley, in 
surprise. 

' Because his own conduct, relative to the charge, is so strange. 
He will not assert his innocence ; or, if he does attempt to assei-t 
it, it is done with a faint, hesitating manner and tone, that can only 
impart the impression of falsehood, instead of truth.' 

' It is utterly absurd to suppose your son Arthur capable of tlia 
like guilt. He is one of those whom it is impossible to doubt ; 
noble, true, honourable ! No ; I would suspect myself, before I 
oould suspect Arthur Channing.* 



THE CHANNINGS. 239 

i woTiiu nave suspected myself before I had suspected bim,' 
impulsively spoke Mr. Channing. *But there are the facts; 
coupled with his non-denial. He could not deny it, even to the 
satisfaction of Mr. Galloway : did not attempt it ; had he done bo, 
Galloway would not have turned him from the office.' 

]\Ir. Huntley fell into thought, revolving over the details, as 
they had been related to him. That Arthur was the culprit, his 
judgment entirely repudiated ; and he came to the conclusion that 
he must be screening another. He glanced at Mrs. Channing, who 
sat in troubled silence. 

'You do not believe Arthur guilty?' he said, in a low tone, 
suddenly bending over to her. 

'I do not know what to believe ; I am racked with doubt and 
pain,' she answered. * Arthur's private words to me are only 
compatible with entire innocence ; but then, what becomes of iho 
broad facts ? — of his strange appearance of guilt before the world ? 
God can bring his innocence to light, he says ; and he is content to 
wait His time.' 

'If there is a mystery, I'll try and come to the bottom of it, 
when I reach Helstonleigh,' thought Mr. Huntley. * Arthur's not 
guilty, whoever else may be.' 

It was impossible to shake his firm faith in Arthur Channing. 
Mr. Huntley was one of those few who read character strongly 
and surely, and he kneio Arthur was incapable of doing wrong. 
Had his eyes witnessed Arthur positively steal the bank-note, his 
mind, his judgment would have refused credence to his eyes. You 
may, therefore, judge that neither then, nor afterwards, was he 
likely to admit the possibility of Arthur's own guilt. 

j 'And the college school is saying Tom shall not stand for the 

^^■biorship !' he resumed aloud. ' Does my son say it ? 
^^^P Some of them are saying it ; I believe the majority of the school. 
^^Hlo not know whether your son is amongst the number.' 
pi^He had better not let me find him to be so,' cried Mr. Huntley. 
I *But now, don't you suffer this affair to worry you,' he added, 
! turning heartily to Mr. Channing. 'If Arthur's guilty, I'll eat 
him ; and I shall make it my business to look into it closely when 
I reach home. You are incapacitated, my old friend, and I shali 
act for you.' 
' Did Ellen not mention this, in writing to you ?' 
' No ; the sly puss ! Catch Miss Ellen writing to me anything 
that might tell against the Channings,* 
A silence followed. The subject, which the words seemed to 



240 THE CHANinNGS. 

hint at, was one upon which there could be no openness between 
them, A warm attachment had sprung up between Ilamish 
Channing and Ellen Huntley; but whether Mr. Huntley would 
sanction it, now that the suit had failed, was doubtful. He had 
never explicitly sanctioned it previously : tacitly, in so far as that 
he had not interfered to prevent Ellen meeting Hamish in society — 
in friendly intercourse. Probably, he had never looked upon it in 
a serious point of view ; possibly, he had never noticed it. Hamish 
had not spoken, even to Ellen; but, that they did care for each 
other very much, was evident to those who chose to open their 
eyes. 

' No two people in all Helstonleigh were so happy in their 
children as you !' exclaimed Mr. Huntley. ' Or had such cause to 
be.' 

' None happier,' assented Mrs. Channing, the tears rising to her 
eyes. * They were, and are so good, so dutiful, so loving. AVould 
you believe that Hamish, little as ho can have to spare, has been 
one of the chief contributors to help us here ?' 

Mr. Huntley lifted his eyebrows with a surprised gesture. 
* Hamish has ! How did he accomplish it ?' 

' He has, indeed. I fancy he has been saving up with this view. 
Dear, self-denying Hamish !' 

Now, it just happened that Mr. Huntley was cognizant of Mr. 
Hamish's embarrassments ; so, how the * saving up ' could have 
been effected, he was at a loss to know. ' Careless Hamish may 
have borrowed it,' thought he to himself, ' but saved it up he has 
not.' 

'What are we approaching now?' interrupted Mr. Channing. 

They were approaching the Prussian frontier ; and there they 
had to change trains : more embarrassment for Mr. Channing. 
After that, they went on without interruption, and arrived safely 
at the terminus, almost close to Borcette, having been about four 
hours on the road. 

'Borcette at last!' cheerily exclaimed Mr. Huntley, as ho 
shook Mr. Channing's hand. 'Please God, it may prove to you a 
place of healing !' 

* Amen !' was the earnestly murmured answer. 

Mrs. Channing was delighted with Borcette. Poor Mr. Channing 
could, as yet see but little of it. It was an unpretending, small 
place, scarcely ten minutes' distance from Aix-la-Chapelle, to 
which she could walk through an avenue of trees. She had never 



THE CHANNINaS. 241 

before seen a bubbling fountain of boiling water, and regarded tlioso 
of Borcette with much interest. The hottest, close to the Hotel 
Eosenbad, where they sojourned, boasted a temperature of more 
then 150^ Fahrenheit ; it was curious to see it rising in the very- 
middle of the street. Other things amused her, too ; in fact, all 
she saw was strange, and bore its peculiar interest. She watched 
the factory people flocking to and fro at stated hours in the day — 
for Borcette has its factories for woollen fabrics and looking- 
glasses— some thousands of souls, their promenade as regular and 
steady as that of school girls on their daily march under the 
governess's eye. The men wore blue blouses; tho women, neat 
and clean, wore neither bonnets nor caps ; but their hair was 
twisted smoothly round their heads, artistically, as if done by a 
hairdresser. Not one, women or girls, but wore enormous gold 
earrings, and the girls plaited their hair, and let it hang behind. 
"What a contrast they presented to their class in England ! Mrs. 
Clianning had, not long before, spent a few weeks in one of our 
large factory towns in the north. She remembered still tho miser- 
able, unwholesome, dirty, poverty-stricken appearance of tho 
fiictory workers there — their almost disgraceful appearance ; she 
remembered still the boisterous or tho slouching manner with 
which they proceeded to their work ; their language anything but 
choice. But these Prussians looked a respectable, well-conducted, 
well-to-do body of people ; their clothes were good ; their manners 
and conduct admirable. "Where could the great difference lie? 
Not in wages ; for the English were better paid than the Geimans. 
We should go abroad to learn economy, and many other desirable 
accompaniments of daily life. Nothing amused her more than to 
see tho laundresses and housewives generally, washing the linen 
at these boiling springs; wash, wash, wash! chatter, chatter, 
chatter! She thought they must have no water in their own 
homes, for they would flock in numbers to the springs with their 
kettles and jugs to fill them. 

It was Doctor Lamb who had recommended them to the Hotel 
Koscnbad ; and they found the recommendation a good one. Ee- 
moved from the narrow, dirty, offensive streets of the little town, 
it vras desirably situated. The promenade, with its broad walks, 
its smart company (many of them invalids nearly as helpless as Mr. 
Channing), and its oft-playing musical bands, was right in front of 
tho hotel windows; a pleasant sight for Mr. Channing until he 
could get about there himself. On the heights behind the hotel 
two churches were situated ; and the sound of their musical services 

B 



242 THE CUAiNNl^GS. 

would be wafted down in the softest and sweetest strains of melody. 
In the ncighbO'n-hood there was a shrine, towhick pilgrims flocked. 
]\Irs. Channing regarded them with interest, some with their alpen- 
stocks, some in fantastic dresses, some with strings and strings of 
beads, which they knelt and told ; and her thoughts went back to 
the old times of the Crusaders. All she saw pleased her ; but for 
the anxiety as to what would be the effect of the new treatment 
upon her husband, and the ever-lively trouble regarding Arthur, it 
would have been a time of real delight to Mrs. Channing. 

They could not have been better off than in the Hotel Eosenbad. 
Their rooms were on the second floor — a small, exquisitely pretty 
sitting-room, bearing a great resemblance to most continental sit- 
ting-rooms, its carpet red, its muslin curtains sno^vy white ; from 
this opened a bed-room containing two beds, all as convenient as it 
could be. Their meals, three per day, were excellent ; the dinner- 
table in particular being abundantly supplied. For all this they 
paid five francs per day each, and the additional accommodation ol 
liaving the rep.?-sts served in their room, on account of Mr. Chan- 
ning, was not regarded as an extra expense. Their wax-lights 
were charged extra, and that was all. I wish English hotel-kccpcrg 
would take a ^esson from Borcette ! 

The doctor gave great hopes of Mr. Channing. Of course his ex- 
pense, with the cost of the baths, was additional ; the laundress was, 
also. The doctor's opinion was, that, had Mr. Channing come to 
these baths when ho was first taken ill, his confinement would have 
been but trifling. ' You will find the greatest benefit in a month,' 
said the doctor, in answer to the anxious question, How long the 
restoration might be in coming? ' In two months you will walk 
charmingly ; in three, you will be well.' Cheering news, if it could 
only be borne out. 

' I will not have you say, *' If," cried Mr. Huntley, who had made 
one in the consultation with the doctor. * You are told that it will 
be so, under God's blessing, and all you have to do is to anticipate 
it.' 

Mr. Channing smiled. They were stationed round the open win- 
dow of the sitting-room, he on the most comfortable of sofas, Mrs. 
Channing watching the gay prospect below, and thinking she should 
never be tired of looking at it. ' There can be no hope without 
fear,' said he. 

' But I'd not think of the fear ; I'd bury that altogether,' said Mr. 
Huntley. * You have nothing to do here but to apply the remedies, 
look forward with confidence, and be as happy as the day's long,' 



THE CHANNINGS. 243 

* I will if I can,' said Mr. Clianning, with some approach to gaiety. 

* I sliould not have gone to the expense of coming here, but that I 
had great hopes of the result.* 

* Expense, you call it ! I call it a marvel of cheapness.* 

' For your pocket. Cheap as it is, it will tell upon mine : but, if 
it does effect my restoration, I shall soon repay it tenfold.' 

"'If" again ! It will effect it, I say. What shall you do with 
Ilamish, when you can resume your place at the head of your office T 

* Let me resume it first, Huntley.' 

* There you go ! Now, if you were only as sanguine and sure as 
you ought to be, I could recommend Hamish to something good to- 
morrow.' 

' Indeed ! What is it ?' 

' But, if you persist in saying you shall not get well, or that there's 
a doubt whether you will get well, where's the use of my doing it? 
So long as you are incapacitated, Ilamish must be a fixture in 
Guild-street.' 

' True.' 

' So I shall say no more about it at present. But remember, my 
old friend, that when you shall bo upon your legs, and have no fur- 
ther need of Hamish — who, I expect, will not care to drop down to 
a clerk again, where he has been master — I may be able to help him 
to something ; so do not let anticipations on his score worry you. 
I suppose you will be losing Constance soon ?' 

Mr. Channing gave vent to a groan : a sharp attack of his malady 
pierced his frame just then. Certain reminiscences, caused by the 
question, may have helped its poignancy ; but of that Mr. Huntley 
had no suspicion. 

In the evening, when Mrs. Channing was sitting under the acacia 
trees, Mr. Huntley joined her, and she took the opportunity of 
alluding to the subject. * Do not mention it again in the presence 
of my husband,' she said : ' talking of it can only bring it before his 
mind with more vivid force. Constance and Mr. Yorke have 
parted.' 

Had Mrs. Channing told him the cathedral had parted, Mr. Hunir 
ley could not have felt more surprise. * Parted!' he ejaculated. 

* From what cause ?' 

' It occurred through this dreadful affair of Arthur's. I fancy 
the fault was as much Constance's as Mr. Yorke's, but I do not 
know the exact particulars. He did not like it ; he thought, I be- 
lieve, that the marrying a sister of Arthur's would tinge his honouj 
—-or she thought it. Anyway, they parted.* 

B 2 



214 THE CHANNINGS. 

' Had William Yorke been engaged to my daughter, and given 
lier up upon so shallow a plea, I should have been disposed to chas- 
tise him,' intemperately spoke Mr. Huntley, carried away by his 
strong feeling. 

' But, I say I fancy the giving up was on Constance's side,' re 
peated Mrs. Channing. * She has a keen sense of honour, and she 
knows the pride of the Yorkes.' 

' Pride, such as that, would be the better for being taken down a 
notch,' returned Mr. Huntley. ' I am sorry for this. The accusa- 
tion has indeed been productive of serious effects. Why did not 
Arthur go to William Yorke and avow his innocence, and tell him 
there was no cause for their parting? Did he not do so ?' 

[ftfrs. Channing shook her head only, by way of answer ; and, as 
Mr. Huntley scrutinized her pale, sad countenance, he began to 
think there must be greater mystery about the affaii' than he had 
supposed. He said no more. 

On the third day he quitted Borcette, having seen them, as ho 
expressed it, fully installed, and pursued his route homewards, by 
way of Lille, Calais, and Dover. Mr. Huntley was no friend to 
long sea passages : people with plenty of money ip. their pockets 
rarely are. 



CHAPTEK XXXII. 

AN OMINOUS COUGH. 

* I SAY, Jenkins, how you cough !' 

' Yes, sir, I do. It's a sign that the autumn weather's coming 
on. I have been pretty free from it all the summer. 1 think the 
few days I lay in bed through that fall, must have been beneficial 
to my chest ; for, since then, I have hardly coughed at aU. This 
last day or two it has been bad again.' 

' What cough d'ye call it ?' went on Koland Yorke— you may have 
guessed he was the speaker. ' A churchyard cough ?' 

* Well, I don't know, sir,' said Jenkins. * It has been called that, 
before now. I dare say it will be the end of me at last.' 

* Cool !' remarked Eoland. ' Cooler than I should be, if I had a 
cough, or any plague of the sort, that was likely to be my end. 
Does it trouble your mind, Jenkins ?' 

* No, sir, not exactly. It gives me rather down-hearted thoughts 
now and then, till I remember that everything is sure to be ordered 
for the best.' 

* The best ! Should you call it for " the best" if you were to go 



I 



THE CIIANNINGS. 215 

off?" demanded Eoland, drawing pen-and-ink chimneys upon his 
blotting-paper, with clouds of smoke coming out, as he sat lazily 
at his desk. 

* I dare say, sir, if that were to happen, I should he enabled to 
see that it was for the best. There's no doubt of it.' 

* According to that theory, everything that happens must be for 
the best. You may as well say that pitching on to your head and 
half killing yourself, was for the best ! Moonshine, Jenkins !' 

' I think even that accident was sent for some wise jjurpose, sir. 
I know, in some respects, it was very palpably for the best. It 
afforded me some days of quiet, of serious reflection, and it served 
to show how considerate everybody was for me.' 

* And the pain ?' 

* That was soon over, sir. It made me think of that better place 
where there will be no pain. If I am to be called there early, Mr. 
Eoland, it is well that my thoughts should be led to it.' 

Eoland stared with all his eyes. ' I say, Jenkins, what do you 
mean ? You have got nothing serious the matter with you ?' 

* No, sir ; nothing but the cough, and a weakness that I feel. My 
mother and my brother both died of the same thing, sir.' 

' Oh, nonsense !' returned Eoland. * Because one's mother dies, 
is that any reason why we should fall into low spirits and take up 
the notion that we are going to die, and look out for it ? I am sur- 
prised at you, Jenkins.' 

' I am not in low spirits, sir ; and I am sure I do not look out for 
it. I might have looked out for it any autumn or any spring of 
late, had I been that way inclined, for I have had the cough at 
those periods, as you know, sir. There's a difference, Mr. Eoland, 
between looking out for a thing, and not shutting one's eyes to 
what may come.' 

' I say, old fellow, you just put all such notions away from you ' — 
and Eoland really meant to speak in a kindly spirit of cheering. 
* My father died of dropsy ; and I may just as well set on, and poke 
and pat at myself every other morning, to see if it's not attacking 
me. Only think what would become of this office without you ! 
Galloway would fret and fume himself into his tomb at having no- 
body but me in it.' 

A smile crossed Jenkins' face at the idea of the office, confided to 
the management of Eoland Yorke. Poor Jenkins was one of the 
doubtful ones, in a sanitary point of view. Always shadowy, as if 
a wind would blow him away, and, for some years, suffering much 
from a cough, which only disappeared in summer, he could not, an:l 



246 THE CHANNINGS. 

did not, count npon a long life. He had entirely recovered froni 
his accident, bnt the cough had now come on -with much force, and 
he was feeling unusually weak. 

* You don't look ill, Jenkins.' 

' Don't I, sir ? The Eeverend Mr. Yorke met me, to-day ' 

* Don't bring up his name before me !' interrupted Eoland, raising 
his voice to anger. * I may begin to swear, perhaps, if you do.' 

* Why, what has he done ?' wondered Jenkins. 

* Never mind what he has done,' nodded Eoland. * He is a 
disgrace to the name of Yorke. I enjoyed the pleasure of telling 
him so, the other night, more than I have enjoyed anything a long 
while. He was so mad ! If he had not been a parson, I shouldn't 
wonder but he'd have pitched into me,' 

' Mr. Eoland, sir, you know the parties are waiting for tliat 
lease,' Jenkins ventured to remind him. 

* Let the parties wait,' rejoined Eoland. ' Do they think this 
office is going to be hurried as if it were a common lawyer's ? I 
say, Jenkins, where has old Galloway taken flight to, this after- 
noon ?' 

* He has an appointment with the surrogate,' answered Jenkins. 
* Oh ! — 1 quite forgot to mention something to you, Mr. Eoland,' 

* Mention it now,' said Eoland. 

*A person came this morning, sir, and was rather loud,' said 
Jenkins, in a tone of deprecation, as if he would apologize for 
having to repeat the news. * He thought you were in, Mr. Eoland, 
and that I was only denying you, and ho grew insolent. Mr. 
Galloway happened to be in his room, unfortunately, and heard it, 
and he came out himself, and sent the person away. Mr. Galloway 
was very angry, and he desired me to tell you, sir, that he would 
not have that sort of people coming here.' 

Eoland took up the ruler, and essayed to balance it on the edge 
of his nose. ' Who was it .?' asked he. 

* I am not sure who it was, though I know I have seen the man, 
somewhere. I think he wanted payment of a bill, sir.' 

* Nothing more likely,' rejoined Eoland, with characteristic in- 
difference. *I hope his head won't ache till he gets it! I am 
cleared out for some time to come. I'd like to know who the 
fellow was, though, Jenkins, that I might punish him for his 
impudence. How dared he come here ?' 

* I asked him to leave his name, sir, and he said Mr. Eoland 
Yorke knew his name quite well enough, without having it left 
for liiEA. 




THE OHANNINGS. 247 

* As brassy as that, was be ! I wish to goodness it was the 
fashion to have a cistern in your house-roofs !' emphatically added 
Koland. 

* A what, sir ?' cried Jenkins, lifting his eyes from his writing. 

' A water-cistern, with a moveable tap, worked by a stiing, at 
pleasure. You could give it a pull, you know, when such cus- 
tomers as those came, and they'd find themselves under a deluge. 
That would cool their insolence, if anything would. I'd get up a 
company for it, and take out a patent, if I only had the ready 
money.' 

Jenkins made no reply. He was applying himself diligently to 
his work, perhaps hoping that Mr. Eoland Yorke might take the 
hint, and do the same. Eoland actually did take it ; at any rate, 
he dipped his pen in the ink, and wrote, at the very least, five or 
six words ; then he looked up. 

* Jenkins,' began ho again, * do you know much about Port 
Natal?' 

' 1 don't know anything about it, sir ; except that there is such 
a place.' 

' Why, you know noiuing !' cried Eoland. ' I never saw such a 
muff. I wonder what you reckon yourself good for, Jenkins r" 

Jenkins shook his head. No matter what reproach was brought 
against him, he received it meekly, as if it were his due. ' I am 
not good for much, sir, beyond just my daily duty here. To know 
about Port Natal and those foreign places is not in my work, sir, 
and so Pm afraid I neglect them. Did you want any information 
about Port Natal, Mr. Poland?' 

* I have got it,' said Eoland ; * loads of it. I am not sure that 1 
shan't make a start for it, Jenkins.' 

* For Port Natal, sir ? Why ! it's all the way to Africa !* 

* Do you suppose I thought it was in Wales ?' retorted Eoland. 
'It's the joUiest opening for an enterprising man, is Port Natal. 
You may land there to-day with half-a-crown in your pocket, and 
come away in a year or two with your fortune made.' 

* Indeed !' ejaculated Jenkins. ' How is it made, sir ?' 

* Oh, you learn all that when you get there. I shall go, Jenkins, 
if things don't look up a bit in these quarters.' 

' What things, sir ?' Jenkins ventured to ask. 

* Tin, for one thing ; work for another,' answered Eoland. * If 
I dent get more of the one, and less of the other, I shall try Port 
Natal. I had a row with my lady at dinner-time. She thinks a 
paltry sovereign or two ought to last a fellow for a month. My 



248 THE CHANNINGS. 

service to her ! I just dropped a hint ot Port Natal, and left her 
weeping. She'll have come to, by this evening, and behavo 
liberally.' 

' But about the work, sir ?' said Jenkins. ' I'm sure I make it 
as light for you as I possibly can. You have only had that lease, 
sir, all day yesterday and to-day.' 

* Oh, it's not just the amount of work, Jenkins,' acknowledged 
Eoland ; * it's the being tied by the leg to this horrid old office. 
As good work as play, if one has to be in it. I have been lit to 
cut it altogether every hour, since Arthur Channing left : for you 
know you are no company, Jenkins.' 

* Very true, sir.' 

' If I could only get Arthur Channing to go with me, I'd be off 
to-morrow ! But he laughs at it. He hasn't got half pluck. Only 
fancy, Jenkins ! my coming back in a year or two with twenty 
thousand pounds in my pocket ! Wouldn't I give you a treat, old 
chap ! I'd pay a couple of clerks to do your work here, and carry 
you off somewhere, in spite of old Galloway, for a six-months' 
lioliday, where you'd get rid of that precious cough. I luould, 
Jenkins.' 

' You are very kind, sir ' 

Jenkins was stopped by the * precious cough.' It seemed com- 
pletely to rack his frame. Eoland looked at him with sympathy, 
and just then steps were heard to enter the passage, and a knock 
came to the office door. 

' Who's come bothering now ?' cried Eoland. * Come in !' 

Possibly the mandate was not heard, lor poor Jenkins was 
coughing still. 'Don't I tell you to come in?' roared out Eoland. 
'Are you deaf?' 

' Open the door. I don't care to soil my gloves,' came back the 
answer from the other side. And Mr. Eoland slid off his stool to 
obey, rather less lazily than usual, for the voice was that of his 
mother, the Lady Augusta Yorke. 

' A very dutiful son you are, Mr. Eoland !' was the salutation of 
Lady Augusta. 'Forcing me up from my dinner before I had 
finished it !' 

' I didn't do anything of the sort/ said Eoland. 

' Yes, you did. With your threats about Port Natal ! What do 
you know about Port Natal? Why should you go to Port Natal? 
You will break my heart with grief, that's what you will do.' 

' I was not going to start this afternoon,' returned Eoland. ' But 
the fact is, mother, I shall have to go to Port Natal, or to some 



THE CHANNINGS. 211) 

Other port, unless I can got a little money to go on with here. A 
Cellow can't walk about with empty pockets.' 

'You undutiful, extravagant boy!' exclaimed Lady Augusta. 
* I am worried out of my life for money, between you all. Gerald 
got two sovereigns from me yesterday. What money do you want ?' 

' As much as you can let me have,' replied Mr. Eoland. 

Lady Augusta threw a five-pound note by his side upon the 
desk. ' \Vhen you boys have driven me into the workhouse, you'll 
be satisfied, perhaps. And now hold your foolish tongue about 
Port Natal.' 

Eoland gathered it up with alacrity and a word of thanks. 
Lady Augusta had turned to Jenkins. 

' You are the best off, Jenkins ; you have no children to disturb 
your peace. You don't look well, Jenkins.' 

* Thank you kindly, my lady, I do feel but poorly. My cough 
has become so troublesome again.' 

' He has just been saying that ho thought the cough was going 
to take him off,' interposed Eoland. 

Lady Augusta laughed ; she supposed it was spoken in jest ; 
and desired her son to open the door for her. Her gloves were 
new and delicate. 

' Had you chosen to remain at the dinner-table, as a gentleman 
ought, I should have told you some news, Mr. Eoland,' said Lady 
Augusta. 

Eoland was always ready for news. He opened his eyes and 
cars. ' Tell it me now, good mother. Don't bear malice.' 

* Your uncle Carrick is coming here on a visit.' 

' I am glad of that ; that's good !' cried Eoland. * When does ho 
come ? I say, mother, don't be in a hurry ! When does he come ?' 

But Lady Augusta apparently was in a hurry, for she did not 
wait to answer. Eoland looked after her, and saw her shaking 
hands with a gentleman, who was about to enter. 

* Oh, he's back, is he !' cried unceremonious Eoland. * I thought 
lie was dead and buried, and gone to heaven.' 



CHAPTEE XXXIII. 

NO SENIORSHIP FOR TOM CUAKNINQ. 

Shaking hands with Lady Augusta Yorko as she turned out of 
Mr. Galloway's ofiBce, was Mr. Huntley. He had but just an-ived 
at Hclstonlcigh ; had not yet been home ; but he explained that he 
wished to give at oucc a word of pleasant news to Constance 



250 TlIE OHANNINGS. 

Cbanniug of her father and mother, and on his way to tho Bonn 
claries, was calling in on Mr. Galloway. 

* You will find Miss Channing at my house,' said Lady Augustca, 
after some warm inquiries touching Mr. and Mrs. Channing. ' I 
would offer to go back there with you, but I am on my way to make 
some calls.' She turned towards the town as she spoke, and Mr. 
Huntley entered the office. 

' I thought you were never coming home again !* cried free 
Eoland. ' Why, you have been away three months, Mr. Huntley !' 

' Very nearly. Where is Mr. Galloway ?' 

*In his skin,' said Eoland. 

Jenkins looked up deprecatingly, as if he would apologize for the 
rudeness of Eoland Yorke. * Mr. Galloway is out, sir. I dare say 
he will not be away more than half an hour.' 

* I cannot wait now,' said Mr. Huntley. ' So you arc one less in 
this office than you were when I left ?' 

* The awfuUest shame !' struck in Eoland. * Have you heard that 
Galloway lost a bank-note out of a letter, sir ?' 

* Yes. I have heard of it from Mr. Channing.' 

*And they accused Arthur Channing of taking it!' exclaimed 
Eoland, emotion and anger bringing a streak of scarlet to his face. 
* They took him up for it ; he was had up twice to the Town-hall, 
like any felon. You may be slow to believe it, Mr. Huntley, but 
it's true.' 

*It was Butterby, sir,' interposed Jenkins. * He was rather too 
officious over it, and acted without the orders of Mr. Galloway.' 

'Don't talk rubbish Jenkins,' rebuked Eoland. 'You have 
defended Galloway all through the piece, but he is as much to blame 
as Butterby. Why did he turn off Channing ?' . 

* You do not deem him guilty, Eoland, I see,-* said IMr. Huntley. 
'I should hope 1 don't,' answered Eoland. 'Butterby pitched 

upon Arthur, because there happened to be nobody else convenient 
to pitch upon ; just as he'd have pitched upon you, Mr. Huntley, 
had you happened to be in the office that afternoon.' 

' Mr. Arthur Channing was not guilty, I am sure, sir ; pray do 
not think him so,' resumed Jenkins, his eye lighting as he turned 
to Mr. Huntley. And Mr. Huntley smiled in response to the 
earnestness. He believe Ai-thur Channing guilty ! 

He left a message for Mr. Galloway, and quitted the office. 
Eoland, who was very difficult to settle to Avork again, if once dis- 
turbed from it, strided himself across his stool, and tilted it back' 
warde. 




THE CHANNINGS. 251 

* I'm uncommonly glad Carrick's coming I' cried he. ^ Do yon 
remember him, Jenkins ?' 

'Yrlio, sir?' 

* That uncle of mine. He was at Helstonleigh three years ago.' 

* I am not sure that I do, sir.' 

*"V\Tiat a sieve of a memory you must have ! He is as tall as a 
house. We are not bad fellows for height, but Cardck beats us. 
He is not married, you know, and we look to him to square up 
many a corner. To do him justice, he never says No, when ho 
has got the cash, but he's often out at elbows himself. It was he 
who bought George his commission and fitted him out ; and I 
know my lady looks to him to find the funds Gerald will want to 
make him into a parson. I wonder what he'll do for me T 

Jenkins was about to answer, but was stopped by his cough. 
For some minutes it completely exhausted him ; and Eoland, in the 
lack of a hearer, was fain to bring the legs of his stool down again, 
and apply himself lazily to his work. 

At this very moment, which was not much past two o'clock in 
the day, Bywater had got Charley Channing pinned against the 
palings underneath the elm trees. He had him all to himself. No 
other boys were within hearing ; though many were within sight ; 
for they were assembling in and round the cloisters after their 
dinner. 

' Now, Miss Charley, it's the last time I'll ask you, as true as 
that we are living here ! You are as obstinate as a young mule. 
I'll give you this one chance, and I'll not give you another. I'd 
advise you to lay hold upon it, if you have any regard for your 
skin.' 

'I don't know anything, Bywater.' 

' You shuflaing little turncoat ! I don't hnow that there's any 
fire in that kitchen chimney of the old dean's, but I am morally 
certain that there is, because of the clouds of black smoke that are 
coming out of it. And you know just as well who it was that 
played the trick to my surplice. I don't ask you to blurt it out to 
the school, and I won't bring your name up in it at all ; I won't 
act upon what you tell me. There !' 

* Bywater, I don't know ; and suspicion goes for nothing. Gaunt 
said it did not.' 

Bywater gave Charley a petulant shake. ' I say that you know 
morally, Miss Channing. I protest that I heard you mention the 
word '' surplice " to Gerald Yorke, the day there was that row in 
the cloisters, when Boland Yorke save Tod a thrashing and I tock 



252 THE CHANNINGS. 

the scat out of my pants. Gerald Yorke looked ready to kill you 
for it, too ! Come, out with it. This is about the sixth time I have 
had you in trap, and you have only defied me.' 

* I don't defy you. By water. I say that I will not tell. I would 
not if I knew. It is no business of mine.' 

* You little ninny ! Don't you see that your obstinacy is injuring 
Tom Channing ? Yorke is going in for the seniorship ; is sure to 
get it — if it's tnie that Pye has given the promise to Lady Augusta. 
But, let it come out that he was the Jack-in-the-box, and his chance 
falls to the ground. And you won't say a word to do good to your 
brother !' 

Charley shook his head. He did not take the bait. * And Tom 
himself would be the first to punish me for doing wrong! lie 
never forgives a sneak. It's of no use your keeping me, Bywater.' 

' Listen, youngster. I have my suspicions ; I have had them all 
along ; and I have a clue — that's more. But, for a certain reason, 
I think my suspicions and my clue point to the wrong party ; and 
I don't care to stir in it till I am sure. One — two — three ! for the 
last time. Will you tell me ?' 

'No.' 

' Then, look you, Miss Charles Channing. If I do go and 
denounce the wrong party, and find out afterwards that it is the 
wrong one, I'll give you as sweet a drubbing as you ever had, and 
your girl's face shan't save you. Now go.* 

He propelled Charley from him with a jerk, and propelled him 
against Mr. Huntley, who was at that moment turning the corner 
close to them, on his way from Mr. Galloway's ofiice. 

' You can't go through me, Charley,' said Mr. Huntley. * Did 
you think I was made of glass, Bywater ?' 

' My patience !' exclaimed Bywater. * Why, Harry was grum- 
bling, not five minutes ago, that you were never coming home at 
all, Mr. Huntley.' 

' He was, was he ? Is he here ?' 

* Oh, he's somewhere amongst the ruck of them, there,' cried 
Bywater, looking towards the distant boys. ' He wants you to see 
about this bother of the seniorship ; if somebody doesn't, we shall 
get up a mutiny, that's all. Here, Huntley,' he shouted at the top 
of his voice, * here's an arrival from foreign parts !' 

Some of the nearer boys looked round, and the word was passed 
to Huntley. Harry Huntley and the rest soon surrounded him, 
and Mr. Huntley had no cause to complain of the warmth of his 
reception. When news had recently arrived that Mr. Huntley was 



i 



THE CHANNINCS. 253 

coming home, the boys had taken up the hope of his interference. 
Of course, schoolboy-like, they all entered upon it eagerly. 

* Stop, stop, stop !' said Mr. Huntley. ' One at a time. How 
can I hear, if you all talk together? Now, what's the grievance ?' 

They detailed it as rationally and with as little noise as it was in 
their nature to do. Huntley was the only senior present, but Gaunt 
came up during the conference. 

' It's all a big cram, Mr. Huntley,' cried Tod Yorke. * My brother 
Gerald says that Jenkins dreamt it.' 

' I'll " dream " you, if you don't keep your tongue silent. Tod 
Yorke,' reprimanded Gaunt. ' Take yourself off to a distance. 
Mr. Huntley,' he added, turning to that gentleman, * it is certain 
that Lady Augusta said it ; and wo can't think she'd say it, unless 
Pye promised it. It is unfair upon Channing and Huntley.' 

A few more words given to the throng, upon general matters — 
for Mr. Huntley touched no more on the other topic— and then ho 
continued his way to Lady Augusta's. As he passed the house of 
the Eeverend Mr. Pye, that gentleman was coming out of it. Mr. 
Huntley, a decisive, straightforward man, entered upon the matter 
at once, after some moments spent in greeting. 

' You will pardon my speaking of it to you personally,' ho said, 
when he had introduced the subject. ' In most cases I consider it 
perfectly unjustifiable for the friends of boys in a public school to 
interfere with the executive of its master ; but this affair is different. 
Is it, or is it not correct, that there is an intention afloat to exalt 
Yorke to the seniorship ?' 

' Mr. Huntley, you must be aware that in no case can the head 
master of a public school allow himself to be interfered with, or 
questioned,' was the reply of the master. 

' I hope you will meet this amicably,' returned Mr. Huntley. 
' I have no other wish than to be friendly ; quite so. We all deem 
ourselves under obligations to you, Mr. Pye, and esteem you highly ; 
we could not have, or wish, a better preceptor for our sons. But 
in this instance, my duty is plain. The injustice — if any such in- 
justice is contemplated— tells particularly upon Tom Channing and 
my son. Mr. Channing does not give ear to it ; I would rather 
not : nevertheless, you must pardon me for acting, in the uncer- 
tainty, as though it had foundation. I presume you cannot bo 
ignorant of the dissatisfied feeling that reigns in the school ?' 

* I have intimated that I will not be questioned,' said Mr. Pye. 

* Quite right. 1 merely ^-ished to express a hope that there may 
be no foundation for the rumour Tf Tom Chaniiiug and Harry 



254 THE cnANNi2>as. 

forfeit their rights legally, through want of merit, or ill conduct, it 
is not I that would urge a word in their favour. Fair play's a 
jewel ; and the highest boy in the school should have no better 
chance given him than the lowest. But if the two senior boys do 
not so forfeit their rights, Yorke must not be exalted above them.' 

' Who is to dictate to me ?' demanded Mr. Pye. 

* Certainly not I,' replied Mr. Huntley, in a courteous but firm 
tone. ' Were the thing to take place, I should simply demand, 
through the Dean and Chapter, that the charter of the school might 
be consulted, as to whether its tenets had been strictly followed.' 

The head master made no reply. Neither did he appear angry ; 
only impassible. Mr. Huntley had certainly hit the right nail upon 
the head ; for the master of Helstonleigh College school was 
entirely under the control of the Dean and Chapter. 

' I can speak to you upon this all the more freely and with better 
understanding, since it is not my boy who stands any chance,' said 
Mr. Huntley, with a cordial smile. * Tom Channing heads him on 
the rolls.' 

' Tom Channing will not be the senior ; I have no objection to 
affirm so much to you,' observed the master, falling in with Mr. 
Huntley's manner. ' This sad affair of his brother Arthur's debars 
him.' 

' It ought not to debar him, even were Arthur guilty,' warmly 
returned Mr. Huntley. 

' In justice to Tom Channing himself, no. But,' and the master 
dropped his voice to a confidential tone, ' it is necessary sometimes 
to study the prejudices taken up by a school ; to see them, and not 
to appear to see them — if you understand me. Were Tom Channing 
made the school's head, part of the school would rise up in rebellion ; 
some of the boys would, no doubt, be removed from it. For the 
peace of the school alone, it could not be done ; the boys would not 
now obey him as senior, and there vvould be perpetual warfare, 
resulting we know not in what.' 

' Arthur Channing was not guilty. I feel as sure of it as I do of 
my own life.' 

' He is looked upon as guilty by those who must laaow best, from 
their familiarity with the details,' rejoined Mr. Pye. ' For*my own 
part, I have no resource but to believe him so. I regard it as one 
of those anomalies which you cannot understand, or would believe 
in, but that it happens under your own eye ; where the moment's 
yielding to temptation is at variance with the general character, 
w ith the whole past life. Of course, in these cases, the disgrace 






THE CHANNINGS. 255 

is reflected upon relatives and connections, and they have to suffer 
for it. I cannot help the school's resenting it upon Tom.' 

' It will be cruel to deprive Tom of the seniorship upon these 
grounds,' remonstrated Mr. Huntley. 

' To himself individually,' assented the master. * But it is well 
that one, promoted to a foundation-school's seniorship, should bo 
free from moral taint. Were there no feeling whatever against 
Tom Channing in the school, I do not think I could, consistent with 
my duty and with a due regard to the fitness of things, place him 
as senior. I am sorry for the boy ; I always liked him ; and he has 
been of good report, both as to scholarship and conduct.' 

' I know one thing,' said Mr. Huntley : * that you may search 
the school through, and not find so good a senior as Tom Channing 
would make.' 

' He would have made a very good one, there's no doubt. Would 
have ruled the boys well and firmly, though without oppression. 
Yes, we lose a good senior in Tom Channing.' 

There was no more to be said. Mr. Huntley felt that the mastei 
was thoroughly decided ; and for the other matter, touching Yorke, 
h^ had done with it until the time of appointment. As ho went 
• musing on, he began to think that Mr. Pye might be right with 
regard to depriving Tom of the seniorship, however unjust it might 
appear to Tom himself. Mr. Huntley remembered that not one of 
the boys, except Gaunt, had mentioned Tom Channing's name in 
his recent encounter with them ; they had spoken of the injustice 
of exalting Yorke over Harry Huntley. He had not much noticed 
it at the time. 

He proceeded to Lady Augusta's, and Constance was informed of 
his visit. She had three pupils at Lady Augusta's now, for that 
lady had kindly insisted that Constance should bring Annabel to 
study with her daughters, during the absence of Mrs. Channing. 
Constance left them to themselves and entered the drawing-room. 
Pretty Constance ! so fresh, so lovely, in her simple dress of muslin, 
and her smoothly-braided hair. Mr. Huntley caught her hands, 
and imprinted a very fatherly kiss upon her fair forehead. 

' That is from the absentees, Constance. I told them I should 
give it to you. And I bring you the bravest news, my dear. Mr. 
Channing was already finding benefit ; he was, indeed. There is 
every hope that ho will be restored.' 

Constance Avas radiant with delight. To see one who had met 
and stayed with her father and mother at their far-off place of 
sojourn, was almost like seeing them. 



256 THE CHANNINGS, 

' And now, my dear, I want a word with you about all tliosc 
untoward trials and troubles, wliich appear to have come thickly 
during my absence,' continued Mr. Huntley. ' First of all, as to 
yourself. What mischief-making wind has been arising between 
you and William Yorke ?' 

The expression of Constance's face changed to sadness, and her 
cheeks grew crimson. 

'My dear, you will not misunderstand me,' he resumed. 'I 
heard of these things at Borcette, and I said that I should under- 
take to inquire into them in the place of your father : just as he, 
health permitting him, would have undertaken for me in my 
absence, did any trouble arise to Ellen. Is it true that you and 
Mr. Yorke have parted ?' 

' Yes,' faltered Constance. 

* And the cause ?' 

Constance strove to suppress her tears. * You can do nothing, 
IMr. Huntley ; nothing whatever. Thank you all the same.' 

' He has made this accusation upon Ai'thur the plea for breaking 
his engagement ?' 

'I could not marry him with this cloud upon me,' she murmured. 
' It would not be right.' 

' Cloud upon yoiL V hastily ejaculated Mr. Huntley. ' The accu- 
sation of Arthur was the sole cause, then, of your parting ?' 

' Yes ; the sole cause which led to it.' 

Mr. Huntley paused, apparently in thought. ' He is presented to 
Ilazeldon Chapel, I liear. Did his rupture with you take place 
after that occurrence ?' 

' I see what you are thinking,' she impulsively cried, caring too 
much for Mr. Yorke not to defend him. * The chief fault of the 
parting was mine. I felt that it would not do to become his wife, 
being — being — ' she hesitated much — 'Arthur's sister. I beheve 
that he also felt it. Indeed, Mr. Huntley, there is no help for it ; 
nothing can be done.' 

' Knowing what I do of William Yorke, I am sure that the pain 
of separation nftist be keen, whatever may be his pride. Constance, 
unless I am mistaken, it is equally keen to you.' 

Again rose the soft damask blush in the face of Constance. But 
she answered decisively : ' Mr. Huntley, I pray you to allow the 
subject to cease. Nothing can bring about a renewal of the 
engagement between myself ard Mr. Yorke. It is irrevocably at 
an end.' 

* Until Arthur shall be cleared, yju mean?' 



THE CIJANNING8. 257 

'No,' sLc answered— a vision of Hamish and las gnilt flashing 
across her — ' I mean for good.' 

* Why does not Arthur assert his innocence to Mr. Yorke ? Con- 
stance, I am sure you know, as well as I do, that he is not guilty. 
Has he asserted it ?' 

A rush of glowing crimson now. The questions were becoming 
close. She made no answer. 

* As I would have wished to serve you, so will I serve Arthur/ 
said Mr. Huntley. 'I told your father and mother, Constance, 
that I should make it my business to investigate the charge 
against him ; I shall leave not a stone unturned to bring his 
innocence to light.' 

The avowal threw Constance into a panic, and she lost her self- 
possession. * Oh don't ! don't !' she uttered. * You must not, 
indeed ! you do not know the mischief it might do.' 

'Mischief to what? — to whom?' exclaimed Mr. Huntley. 

Constance buried her face in her hands, and burst into tears. 
The next moment she had raised it, and taken Mr. Huntley's 
hand between hers. * You are papa's friend ! you would do us 
good and not harm — is it not so ?' she beseechingly said. 

' My dear child,' he exclaimed, quite confounded by her words 
— her distress, ' you know that I would not harm any of you for 
the world.' 

' Then pray do not seek to dive into that unhappy story,' she 
whispered. ' It must not bo too closely looked into.' 

And Mr. Huntley quitted Constance, like a man who walks 
upon his head, so entirely amazed was he. What could be the 
puzzle ? 

As he was going through the cloisters — his nearest way to the 
town— Eoland Yorke came flying up. With his usual scant cere- 
mony, he passed his arm within Mr. Huntley's. ' Galloway's come 
in now,' he exclaimed, 'and I am off to the bank to pay in a bag 
of money for him. Jenkins told him you had called. Just hark 
at that clatter !' 

The clatter, alluded to by Mr. Roland, was occasioned by the 
tramp of the choristers on the cloister flags. They were coming 
ap behind, full speed, on their way from the school-room to enter 
(he cathedral, for the bell had begun for service. 

' And here comes that beautiful relative of mine,' continued 
Roland, as he and Mr. Huntley passed the cathedral entrance, and 
turned into the west quadrangle of the cloisters. 'Would you 
credit it, Mr. Huntley, that he has turned out a snea^c? He has. 



258 THE OHANNINGK. 

lie was to have nmiTied Constance Channing, you know ; and, for 
fear Arthur should have touched the note, he has declared off it. 
If I were Constance, I would never allow the fellow to speak to 
me aj^ain,' 

Apparently it was the course Mr. Eoland himself intended to 
observe. As the Eev. Mr. Yorke, who was coming in to service, 
drew near, Eoland strode on, his step haughty, his head in the air, 
which was all the notice he vouchsafed to take. Trobahly the 
minor canon did not care very much for Mr. Eoland's notice, one 
way or the other ; but his eye lighted with pleasure at tlie sight of 
Mr. Huntley, and he advanced to him, his hand outstretched. 

But Mr. Huntley — a man given to show in his manner his likes 
and dislikes — would not see the hand, would not stop at all, but 
passed Mr. Yorke with a distant bow. That gentleman had iallcu 
pretty deep in his estimation, since he heard of the rupture with 
Constance Channing. Mr. Yorke stood for a moment as if petri- 
fied, and then strode on his way with a step as liauglity as Eoland's. 

Eoland burst into a glow of delight. * That's the way to serve 
him, Mr. Huntley ! I hope he'll get cut by every man in Helslon- 
leigh.' 

CHAPTER XXXIY. 

GERALD YOKKE MADE INTO A 'BLOCK.* 

The Eev. Mr. Yorke, in his surplice and hood, stood in his stall in 
the cathedral. His countenance was stem, absorbed ; like that of 
a man who is not altogether at peace with himself. Let us hope 
that he was absorbed in the sacred service in which he w^as taking 
a part : but we all know, to our cost, that the^spirit will wander at 
these times ; that worldly thoughts obtrude themselves. Tlio 
very greatest divine that the Church boasts, is not always free 
from them. 

Not an official part in the service was Mr. Yorke taking, that 
afternoon: the duty was being performed by the head-master, 
whose week it was to take it. Yery few people were at service,'^ 
and still less of the clergy ; the dean was present, but not one of 
the chapter 

Arthur Channing sat in his place at the organ. Arthur's 
thoughts, too, were wandering ; and — you know it is of no use to 
make people out to be better than they are — wandering to things 
especially mundane. Arthur had not ceased to Ibok out for some- 
thing to do, to replace the weekly funds lost when he left Mr* 



THE CHANNINGS. 250 

(Jalloway's. Ho had not yet been succoBsful : employment is more 
easily souglit than found, especially by one lying under doubt, afl 
he was. But he had now heard of something which he hoped he 
might gain. 

Jenkins, saying nothing to Eoland Yorke, or to anybody else, had 
hurried to Mr. Channing's house that day between one and two 
oclock; and the hurrying there and back had probably caused that 
temporary increase of cough, which you heard of a chapter or two 
back. Jenkins's errand was to inform Arthur that Dove and Dove 
(solicitors in the town, who were by no means so dove-like as tlieir 
name) required a temporary clerk, and ho thought Arthur might 
suit. Arthur had asked Jenkins to keep a look-out for him. - 

'Is one of their clerks leaving?' Arthur inquired. 

* One of them mot with an accident last night up at the railway- 
station,' replied Jenkins. * Did you not hear of it, sir ?* 

' I heard of that. 1 did not know who it was that was hurt, 
lie was trying to cross the line, was he not ?' 

' Yes, sir. It was Mars ton. lie had been out with some friends, 
and had taken, it is thought, more than was good for him. A 
porter pulled him back, but Marston fell, and the engine crushed 
his foot. He will bo laid up two months, the doctors say, and 
Dove and Dove are looking out for somebody to fill his place for 
the time. If you would like to take it, sir, you could be looking 
out for something else while you aro there. You would more 
readily get the two hours' daily leave of absence from a place like 
that, where they keep three or four clerks, than you would from 
where they keep but one.' 

*IfI like to take it!' repeated Arthur. 'Will they like to tako 
rae ? That's the question. Thank you, Jenkins, I'll see about it 
at once.' 

He was not able to do so immediately that Jenkins left ; for 
Dove and Dove's ofiices were situated at the other end of the town, 
and he might not be back in time for service. So ho waited and 
went first to college, and sat, I say, in his place at the organ, his 
thoughts filled, in spite of himself, with the new project. 

TJio service came to an end : it had seemed long to Arthur — so 
prone are wo to estimate time by our own feelmgs— and his 
voluntary, afterwards, was played a shade faster than usual. Then 
he quitted the Cathedral by the front entrance, and hastened to the 
ofllco of Dove and Dove. 

Arthur had had many a rebuff of late, when bent on a similar ap- 
plication, and his experience taught him that it was best, if 

s 2 



250 THE CHANNINGS 

possible, to see the principals : not to subject himself to the carelese 
indifference or to the insolence of a clerk. Two young men wero 
writing at a desk when he entered. * Can I see Mr. Dove ?' Jio 
inquired. 

The elder of the writers scrutinized him through the railings of 
the desk : ' AVhich of them ?' asked he. 

* Either,' replied Arthur ; ' Mr. Dove, or Mr. Alfred Dove. It 
does not matter.' 

* Mr. Dove's out, and Mr. Alfred Dove's not at home,' was the 
response. ' You'll have to wait, or to call again.' 

He preferred to wait : and in a very few minutes Mr. Dove came 
in. Arthur was taken into a small room, so full of papers that it 
seemed difficult to turn in it, and there he stated his business. 

' You aro a son of Mr. Channing's, I believe,' said Mr . Dove. 
He spoke morosely, coarsely ] and he had a morose and coarse 
countenance — the sure index of the mind, in him, as in others. 
* Was it you who figured in the proceedings at the Guildhall some 
few weeks back ?' 

You may judge whether the remark called the blood to Arthur's 
face. He suppressed hisjnortification, and spoke bravely. 

* It was myself, sir. I was not guilty. My employment in your 
office would be the copying of deeds solely, I presume ; which 
would afford me little temptation to be dishonest, even were I m- 
clined to be.' 

Had anybody paid Arthur in gold to keep in that little bit of 
sarcasm, he could not have helped speaking it. Mr. Dove caught 
up the idea that the words ivere uttered in sarcasm, and scowled 
fitfully. 

' Marston was worth twenty-five shillmgs a week to us : and 
gained it. You would not be worth half as much.' 

* You do not know what I should be worth, sir, unless you tried 
me. I am a quick and correct copyist ; but T should not look to 
receive so much as an ordinary clerk, on account of having to 
attend the Cathedral for morning and afternoon service. Wherever 
I go, I must have that privilege allowed me.' 

' Then I don't think you'll get it with us. But look here, young 
Channing, it is my brother who undertakes the engaging and tho 
management of the clerks — you can speak to him.' 

* Can I see him this afternoon, sir ?' 

* He'll be in presently. Of course, we could not admit you into 
our office without some one becoming security. You- must bo 
av/are of that.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 261 

Tlie words seemed like a checkmate to Arthur. And he stopped 
hi hesitation. ' Is it usual, sir?* 

' Usual — no ! But it is necessary in your case.' 

There was a coarse, pointed stress upon the ' your,' natural to the 
man. Arthur turned away. For a moment he felt that to Dove 
^nd Dove's he could not and would not go ; every feeling within 
^lim rebelled against it. Presently the rebellion calmed down, and 
he began to think about the security. 

It would bo of little use, he was sure, to apply to Mr. Alfred 
Dove — who was a shade coarser than Mr. Dove, if anything — unless 
prepared to say that security could bo furnished. His father's ho 
thought he might command : but he was not sure of that, under 
present circumstances, without first speaking to Hamish. He turned 
his steps to Guild Street, his unhappy positioii pressing with un- 
usual weight upon his feelings. 

' Can I see my brother ?' he inquired of the cbrks in the office. 

' lie has some gentlemen with him just now, sir. I dare say you 
can go in.' 

There was nothing much amiss in the words ; but in the tone 
there was. It was indicative of slight, of contempt. It was tho 
first time Arthur had been there since the suspicion had fallen on 
him, and they seemed to stare at him as if he had been a wild hyena ; 
not a respectable hyena either. 

He entered Hamish's room. Hamish was talking with two gen- 
tlemen, strangers to Arthur, but they were on tho point of leaving. 
Arthur stood away against the wainscoting by the corner table, 
waiting till they were gone, his attitude, his countenance, his whole 
appearance indicative of depression and sadness. 

Hamish closed the door and turned to him. He laid his hand 
kindly upon his shoulder ; his voice was expressive of the kindest 
sympathy. ' So you have found your way here once more, Arthur ! 
I thought you were never coming again. AVhat can I do for you, 
lad?' 

* I have been to Dove and Dove's. They are in want of a clerk. 
I think perhaps they would take me; but, Hamish, they want 
security.' 

' Dove and Dove's,' repeated Hamish. 'Nice gentlemen, both of 
them!* he added, in his half-pleasant, half-sarcastic manner. 
'Arthur, boy, I'd not be under Dove and Dove if they offered me a 
gold nugget a day, as weighty as the Queen's crown. You must 
not go there.' 

' They are not agreeable men ; I know that : they ftrc not men 



262 THE CHANNIXGS. 

v/ho are liked in Helstonlcigli, but what difference will that uiako 
to me ? So long as I turn out their parchments properly engrossed, 
that is all I need care for.' 

* What has happened ? Why are you looking so sad?' reiterated 
Hamish, who could not fail to perceive that there was some strange 
grief at work, 

' Is my life so sunny just now, that I can always be as bright as 
you ?' retorted Arthur — for Hamish's undimmed gaiety did some- 
times jar upon his wearied spirit. ' I shall go to Dove and Dove's 
if they will take me,' he added resolutely. * Will you answer for 
xne, Hamish, in my father's name ?' 

'What amount of security do they require?' asked Hamish. 
And it was a very proper, a very natural question ; but even that 
grated on the nerves of Arthur. 

* Are you afraid of me ?' he rejoined. ' Or do you fear my father 
would be ?' 

'I dare say they would take my security,' was the reply of 
Hamish. * I will answer for you to any amount. That is,' and 
again came his gleesome smile, * to any amount they may deem mo 
good for. If they don't like mine, I can offer my father's. Will 
that do, Arthur.?' 

* Thank you ; that is all I want.' 

* Don't go to Dove and Dove's, old boy,' Hamish said again, as 
Arthur was leaving the room. ' Wait patiently for something more 
desirable to tm-n up. There's no such great hurry. I wish there 
was room for you to come here !' 

* It is but a temporary thing, it is not for long,' replied Arthur ; 
and he went out. 

On going back to Dove and Dove's, the first person he saw, upon 
opening the door of the clerks room, was Mr. Alfred Dove. Ho 
appeared to be in a passion over something that had gone wrong, 
and was talking fast and furiously. 

' W^hat do you want ?' he asked, wheeling round upon Arthut 
Arthur replied by intimating that he would be glad to speak with 
Lim. 

' Can't you speak, then?' returned Mr. Alfred Dove. * I am not 
deaf.' 

Thus met, Arthur did not repeat his wish for privacy. He inti- 
mated his business, uncertain whether Mr. Alfred Dove had heard 
of it or not ; and stated that the security could be given. 

*I don't know what you mean about "security,"' was Mr. 
Alfred Dove's rejoinder ' What security ?' 



THE OHANMINGS. 2G3 

* Mr. Dove said that if I camo into your oflicc security would be 
required,' answered Arthur. ' My friends are ready to give it.' 

' Mr. Dove told you that, did he ? Just like him. He has no 
thing to do with the details of the office. Did he know who you 
are?' 

' Certainly he did, sir.' 

'I should have thought not,' offensively returned Mr. Alfred 
Dove. 'You must possess some assurance, young man, to come 
after a place in a respectable office. Security, or no security, we 
can't admit one into ours, who lies under the accusation of being 
light-fingered.' 

It was the man all over. Ilamish had said ' Don't go to Dove 
and Dove's.' Mr. Alfred Dove stood with his finger pointing to the 
door, and the two clerks stared in an insolent manner at Arthur. 
With a burning brow and rising spirit, Arthur left the room, and 
halted for a moment in the passage outside. 'Patience, patience,' 
he murmured to himself; ' patience, and trust in God !* lie turned 
into the street quickly, and ran right against Mr. Huntley. 

For a minute he could not speak. That gentleman detected his 
emotion, and waited till it was over. ' Have you been insulted, 
Arthur ?' he breathed. 

' Not much more so than I am now getting accustomed to be,' 
was the answer that came from his quivering lips. ' I heard they 
wanted a clerk, and went to offer myself. I am looked upon as a 
felon now, Mr. Huntley.' 

' Being innocent as the day.' 

* I am innocent, before God,' spoke Arthur, in the impulse of his 
emotion, in the fervency of his heart. That he spoke but the 
solemn truth, it was impossible to doubt, even had Mr. Huntley 
been inclined to doubt ; and Arthur may be excused for forgetting 
his usual caution in the moment's bitterness. 

* Arthur,' said Mr. Huntley, ' I promised your father and mother 
that I should do all in my power to establish your innocence. Can 
you tell me how I am to set about it .?' 

' You cannot do it at all, Mr. Ilimtley. Things must remain as 
they are.' 
'Why?' 
*I cannot explain why. I can only repeat it.' 

* There is some strange mystery attaching to this.' 
Arthur did not gainsay it. 

* Arthur, if I am to let the affair rest as I find it, you must at 
least give mo a reason why I may not act. What is it ? 



264 THE CHANNIXGS. 

* Because the investigation could only cause tenfold deeper trouble. 
You are very good to think of helping me, Mr. Huntley, but I must 
fight my own battle. Others must be quiet in this matter — for all 
our sakes.* 

Mr, Huntley gazed after Arthur as he moved away. Constance 
first ! Arthur next ! What could be the meaning of it all ? Where 
did the mystery lie ? A resolution grew up in Mr. Huntley's heart 
that he would fathom it, for private reasons of his own ; and, in 
the impulse of the moment, he bent his steps there and then, to- 
wards the police station, and demanded an interview with Eoland 
Yorke's hete noire, Mr. Butterby. 

But the cathedral is not quite done with for the afternoon. 

Upon the conclusion of service, the dean lingered a few minutes 
in the nave, speaking to one of the vergers. When he turned to 
continue his way, he encountered the Eev. Mr. Pye, who had been 
taking off his surplice in the vestry. The choristers had been 
taking off their surplices also, and were now gone trooping through 
the cloisters back to the school-room, not more gently than usual. 
The dean saluted Mr. Pye, and they walked out together. 

' It is impossible to keep them quiet unless one's eye is continually 
upon theml' exclaimed the head-master, half apologetically, as 
they came in view of the rebels. He had a great mind to add 

* And one's cane.' 

'Boys will be boys,' said the dean. *How has this foolisb 
opinion arisen among them, that the names, standing first on the 
roll for the seniorship, will not be allowed to compete for it?' 
continued he, with much suavity. 

Mr. Pye looked rather flushed. 'Eeally I am unable to say, 
Mr. Dean. It is difficult to account for all the notions taken up by 
schoolboys.' 

* Boys do take up strange notions,' blandly assented the dean. 

* But, I think, were I you, Mr. Pye, I would set their minds at rest 
in this respect. You have not yet deemed it worth while, I dare 
say : but it may perhaps be as well to do so. When the elders of a 
school once pick up the idea that their studies may not meet with due 
reward, it tends to render them indifferent. I remember once — it 
was just after I came here as dean, many years ago — the head- 
master of the school exalted a boy to be senior who stood sixth or 
seventh on the rolls, and was positively half an idiot. But those 
times are past ' 

* Certainly they are,' remarked the master 

* It was an unpleasant duty I had to perform then, continued 



THE CHANNINGS. 2u5 

the (lean, in the same agreeable tone, as if lie were relating an 
anecdote : ' unpleasant both for the parents of the boy, and for the 
head-master. But, as I remark, such things could not occur now. 
I think I would intimate to the king's scholars that they have 
nothing to fear.' 

' It shall be done, Mr. Dean,' was the response of the master ; 
and they exchanged bows as the dean turned into the deanery. 
' She's three parts a fool, is that Lady Augusta,' muttered the 
master to the cloister-flags as he strode over them. * Chattering 
magpie ! ' 

As circumstances had it, the way was paved for the master to 
speak at once. Upon entering the college school-room, in passing 
the senior desk, he overheard "^vhispered words of dispute between 
Gerald Yorke and Pierce senior, touching this very question, the 
seniorship. The master reached his own desk, gave it a sharp rap 
with a cane that lay near to hand, and spoke in his highest tone, 
looking red and angry. 

' What are these disputes that appear to have been latterly 
disturbing the peace of the school ? What is that you are saying, 
Gerald Yorke ? — that the seniorship is to be yours ?' 

Gerald Yorke looked red in his turn, and somewhat foolish. * I 
beg your pardon, sir, I was not saying precisely that,' he answered 
with hesitation. 

* I think you were saying precisely that,' was the response of 
the master. ' My ears are quicker than you may fancy, Mr. Yorke. 
If you really have been hugging yourself with the notion that the 
promotion will be yours, the sooner you disabuse your n:md of it, 
the better. Whoever gains the seniorship will gain it by priority 
of right, by scholarship, or by conduct — as the matter may be. 
Certainly not by anything else. Allow me to recommend you, ona 
and all '—and the master threw his eyes round the desks generally, 
and gave another emphatic stroke with the cane—' that you con- 
cern yourselves with your legitimate business ; not with mine.' 

Gerald did not like the reproof, or the news. He remained 
silent and sullen until the conclusion of school, and then went 
tearing home. 

'A pretty block you have made of me!' he uttered, bursting 
into the presence of Lady Augusta, who had just returned homo 
very warm, and sat fanning herself on a sofa before an open window. 

' Why, what has taken you ?' returned her ladyship. 

* It's a shame, mother ! It is 1 Filling me up with the news 
that I was to be senior ! Anrl now Pye goes and announces that 



266 THE CHANNINGS. 

I'm a fool for supposing so, and tliat it's to go in the regular 
rotation.' 

' Pye does not mean it,' said ray lady. * There, hold your tongue, 
Gerald. I am too hot to talk.' 

' I Imow that every fellow in the school will have the laugh at 
me, if I am to be made a regular block of, like this !' grumbled 
Gerald. 



CHAPTEE XXXA^ 

THE EAEL OF CARRICK. 

On a fine afternoon in August — and the month was now drawing 
towards its close— the 2-25 train from London steamed into the 
station at Helstonleigh, eight minutes behind time, and came to a 
standstill. Amongst the passengers who alighted, was a gentle- 
man of middle age, as it is called — in point of fact, he had entered 
his fiftieth year, as the peerage would have told any curious inquirer. 
As he stepped out of the first-class carnage, several eyes were 
drawn towards him, for he was of notable height, towering above 
everybody ; even above Eoland Yorke, who was of good height him- 
self, and stood on the platform waiting for him. 

It was the Earl of Carrick, brother to Lady Augusta Yorke, and 
much resembling her — a pleasant-natured, high cheek-boned, easy 
face, betraying more of aifable good humour than of high or keen 
intellect, and nothing of pride. The pride of the young Yorkes 
was sometimes talked of in Helstonleigh, but it came of their 
father's side, not from Lady Augusta's. The earl spoke with a 
slight tincture of brogue, and shook both the hands of Eoland 
heartily, as soon as he found that it was to Eoland they belonged. 

' Sure then ! but I didn't know ye, Eoland ! If ye had twenty 
years more on to ye'ro head, I should have thought it was ye'r© 
father.' 

' Have I grown like him. Uncle Carrick ?' 

' Ye've grown out of knowledge, me boy. And how's ye're 
mother, and how are the rest of ye ?' 

'Stunning,' responded Eoland. 'They are all outside. She 
would bring the whole caravan up. The last time the lot came to 
the station, the two young ones got upon the line to dance a 
hornpipe on the rails ; so she has kept them by her, and is making 
Gerald and Tod look after them. Where's your luggage. Uncle 
Carrick ? Have you brought a servant ? 



A 



THE OHANNINGS. 2G7 

* Not I,' replied the carl. ' Servants are only troubles in other 
folk's houses, and me bit of luggage isn't much but I can look after 
ft meeself, I hope they put it in,' ho continued, looking about 
amid the boxes and portmanteaus, and unable to see his own. 

The luggage was found at last, and given in charge to a porter ; 
and Lord Carrick went out to meet his relatives. There wero 
enough of them to meet — the whole caravan, as Eoland had ex- 
pressed it. Lady Augusta sat in her barouche — her two daughters 
and Constance and Annabel Channing with her. Little Percy and 
Frank, two most troublesome children, were darting in and out 
amid the waiting carriages, flys, and omnibuses ; and Gerald and 
Tod had enough to do to keep th*3m out of danger. It was so like 
Lady Augusta — the bringing them all to the station to welcome 
their uncle ! "Warm-hearted and impulsive, she had little more 
judgment than a child. Constance had in vain protested against 
herself and Annabel being pressed into the company ; but her lady- 
ship looked upon it as a sort of triumphal expedition, and was deaf 
to remonstrances. 

The earl, warm-hearted and impulsive also, kissed ihcra all, 
Constance included. She could not help herself ; before she was 
aware of the honour intended her, the kiss was given — a hearty 
smack, hke all the rest had. The well-meaning, simple-minded 
Irishman could not have been made to understand why he should 
not give a kiss of greeting to Constance, as readily as ho gave it to 
his sister, or his sister's daughters. He protested that he remem- 
bered Constance and Annabel well. It may be questioned whether 
there was not more of Irish politeness than of truth in the as- 
sertion, though he had seen them occasionally, during his visit of 
three years before. 

How were th'^y all to get home ? In and on the barouche, as all, 
save Eoland, had come, to the gratification of the curious town ? 
Lord Carrick wished to walk ; his long legs were cramped : but 
liady Augusta would not hear of it, and pulled him into the 
carriage. Gerald, Percy, and Frank were fighting for places on 
the box beside the driver, Tod hitending to hang on behind, as ho 
had done in coming, when the deep-toned college bell struck out 
the quarter to three, and the sound came distinctly to their ears, 
borne from the distance. It put a stop to the competition, so far 
as Gerald was concerned. He and Tod, startled half out of their 
senses, for they had not observed the lapse of time, set off on foot as 
hard as they could go. 

Meanwhile Pioland, putting aside the two young ones with bis 



2r,8 THE CHANNINGS. 

strong hand, chose to mount the box himself; at wliich they 
both began to shriek and roar. Matters were compromised after a 
while ; Percy was taken up by Eoland, and Frank was, by some 
process of packing, stowed away inside. Then the cargo started ; 
T^ady Augusta happy as a princess, with her newly-met brother 
and her unruly children, and not caring in the least for the gaze of 
+he people who stood in the street, or came rushing to their 
windows and doors to criticise the load. 

Crowded as the carriage was, it was pleasanter to be in it, on 
that genial day, than to be at work in close rooms, dark shops, 
or dull offices. Amongst others, who were so confined and hard 
at work, was Jenkins at Mr. Galloway's. Poor Jenkins had not 
improved in health during the week or two that have elapsed since 
you last saw him. His cough was more troublesome still, and he 
was thinner and weaker. But Jenkins, humble and conscientious, 
thinking himself one who was not worth thinking of at all in com- 
parison with others, would have died at his post rather than give 
in. Certainly, Arthur Channing had been discharged at the most 
inopportune time, for Mr. Galloway, as steward to the Dean and 
Chapter, had more to do about Michaelmas, than at any other 
period of the year. From that epoch until November, when the 
yearly audit took place, there was a good deal of business to get 
through. 

On this afternoon, Jenkins was particularly busy. Mr. Galloway 
was away from home for a day or two— on business connected with 
that scapegrace cousin of his, Poland Yorke proclaimed ; though 
whetiier Mr. Roland had any foundation for the assertion, save his 
»wn fancy, may be doubted — and Jenkins had it all upon his own 
thoulders. Jenkins, unobtrusive and meek though he was, was 
perfectly competent to manage, and Mr. Galloway left him with 
entire trust. But it is one thing to be competent to manage, and 
another thing to be able to do two persons' work in one person's 
time ; and, that, Jenkins was finding this afternoon. He had letters 
to write ; he had callers to answer ; he had the general business of 
the office to attend to ; he had the regular deeds to prepare and 
copy. The copying of those deeds was the work pertaining to 
Poland Yorke. Poland did not seem to b» in a hurry to come to 
them. Jenkins cast towards them an anxious eye, but Jenkins 
could do no more, for his own work could not be neglected. He 
felt very unwell that afternoon — oppressed, hot, unable to breathe. 
Uo T\^ped the moisture from his brow three or four times, and then 
Ue thought he might be the better for a little air, and opened tho 



I 



THE OHA.NNINGS. 269 

window. But the breeze, p;eT)t]o, as it was, made him cough, and 
he shut it again. 

Of course, nobody, knowing; Mr. Eoland Yorke, could be sur- 
prised at his starting to the station to meet Lord Carrick, instead 
of to the office to do his work. Ho had gone homo at one o'clock 
that day, as usual. Not that there was any necessity for his doing 
so, for the dinner hour was postponed until later, and it would 
have furthered the business of the office had he remained for onco 
at his post. Had anybody suggested to Eoland to do so, he would 
have thought he was going to be worked to death. About twenty 
minutes past three he came clattering in. 

* 1 say, Jenkins, I want a holiday this afternoon.' 
Jenkins, albeit the most accommodating spirit in the world, 
looked dubious, and cast a glance at the papers on lloland's desk. 

* Yes, sir. But what is to be done about the Uphill farm leases ?' 

' Now, Jenkins, it's not a bit of good for you to begin to croak ! 
If I gave in to you, you'd get as bad as Galloway. "When I have 
got my mind off work, I can't settle to it again, and it's of no use 
to try. Those Uphill deeds are not wanted before to-morrow.' 

' But they are wanted by eleven o'clock, sir, so that they must 
be finished, or nearly finished, to-night. Y'ou know, sir, there has 
been a luss about them, and to-morrow, early, is the very latest 
time they must be sent in.' 

' I'll get up, and be hero in good time and finish them,' said 
Eoland. ' Just put it to yourself, Jenkins, if you had an imcle that 
you'd not seen for seventeen ages, whether you'd like to leave him 
the minute he puts his foot over the door-sill ?' 

'I daresay I should not, sir,' said good-natured Jenkins, turnmg 
about in his mind how he could make time to do Eoland's work. 
'His lordship is come then, Mr. Eoland ?' 

' His lordship's come, bag and baggage,' returned Eoland. * I 
say, Jenkins, what a thousand shames it is that he's not rich ! He 
is the best-natured fellow alive, and would do anything in the 
world for us, if he only had the tin.' 

' Is he not rich, sir ?' 

*^Vhy, of course he's not, confidentially returned Eoland 

* Eveiybody knows the embarrassments of Lord Carrick. When he 
came into the estates, they had been mortgaged three deep by the 
last peer, my gi-andfather — an old guy in a velvet skull-cap, I 
icmembcr, who took snufif incessantly — and my uncle, on his part, 
had mortgaged them three deep again, which made six. How 
Carrick manages to live nobody knows ; sometimes he's in Ireland, 



270 THE CHANNINGS. 

in the tumblo-down old homestead, with just a couple of servants 
to Avait upon him ; and sometimes he's on the Continent, en (jarron 
— if you know what that means. Now and then he gets a wind' 
fall when any of his tenants can be brought to pay up ; but he is 
the easiest-going coach in life, and won't press them. AVouldn't I !' 

' Some of those Irish tenants are very poor, sir, as I have heard.' 

'Poor be hanged! What is a man's own, ought to be his own. 
Carrick says there are some years that ho does not draAV two 
thousand pounds, all told.' 

' Indeed, sir ! That is not much for a peer.' 

* It's not much for a commoner, let alone a peer,' said Iioland, 
growing liercc. ' If I were no better off than Carrick, I'd drop the 
title ; that's what I'd do. AVhy, if he could live as a peer ought, do 
you suppose we should be in the position that wo are ? One a 
soldier; one (and that's me) lowered to be a common old proctor; 
one a parson ; and all the rest of it ! If Carrick could be as otlicr 
earls are, and have interest with the Government, and that, 
we should stand a chance of getting properly provided for. Of 
course he can make interest with nobody while his estates bring 
him in next door to nothing.' 

'Are there no means of improving his estates, Mr. Eoland? 
asked Jenkins. 

' If there were, he's not the one to do it. And I don't know that 
it would do him any material good, after all,' acknowledged 
Eoland. *If he gets one thousand a-year, he spends two; and if 
he had twenty thousand, he'd spend forty. It might come to the 
same in the long run, so far as he goes : rce might be the better 
for it ; and should be. It's a shame, though, that we should need 
to be the better for other folk's money ; if this were not the most 
unjust world going, everybody would have fortunes of their 
own.' 

After this friendly little bit of confidence touching his uncle's 
affairs, Eoland prepared to depart. ' I'll be sure to come in good 
time in the morning, Jenkins, and set to it like a brick,' was his 
parting salutation. 

Away ho went. Jenkins, with his poor aching head and Iiis 
harassing cough, applied himself diligently, as he ever did, to the 
afternoon's work, and got through it by six o'clock, which was 
later than usual. There then remained the coj^ying, which 31 r 
Eoland Yorko ought to have done. Knowing the value of Eoland's 
promises, and knowing also that if he kept this promise ever so 
strictly, the amount of copying was more than could be completed 



THE CHANNINOg 271 

!n time, if left to the morning, Jenliins did as he had been a^-are 
he luust do, when talking with lioland — took it home witlv 
hmi. 

The parchments under his arm, ho set out on his walk. What 
could be the matter with him, that ho felt so weak ? he asked 
himself as he went along. It must be, ho believed, the having 
gone without his dinner. Jenkins generally went home to dinner 
at twelve, and returned at one ; occasionally, however, ho did not 
go till two, according to the exigencies of the office ; this day, he 
had not gone at all, but had cut a sandwich at breakfast-time and 
brought it with him in his pocket. 

He had proceeded as far as the elm trees in the Boundaries — for 
Jenkins generally chose the quiet cloister way for his road home — 
when he saw Arthur Channing advancing towards him. With tho 
ever-ready, respectful, cordial smile with which he was wont 
to greet Arthur whenever ho saw him, Jenkins quickened his steps. 
But suddenly the smile seemed to fix itself upon his lips ; and tho 
parchments fell from his arm, and ho staggered against tho 
palings. But that Arthur was at hand to support him, he might 
have fallen to the ground. 

' Why, what is it, Jenkins V asked Arthur, kindly, when Jenkini 
was beginning to'recovcr himself. 

' Thank you, sir ; I don't know what it could have been. Just 
as I was looking at you, a mist seemed to come before my eyes, 
and I felt giddy. I suppose it was a sort of iaintness that camo 
over me. I had been thinking that I felt weary. Thank you 
very much, sir.' 

* Take my arm, Jenkins,' said Arthur, as he picked up the parch* 
ments, and took possession of them. ' I'll see you home.' 

' Oh, no, sir, indeed,' protested simple-hearted Jenkins ; ' I'd 
not think of such a thing. I'd feel quite ashamed, sir, at the 
tliought of your being seen arm-in-arm with me in the street. I 
can go quite well alone ; I can, indeed, sir.' 

Arthur burst out laughing. * I wish you wouldn't be such an 
old duff, Jenkins — as the college boys have it ! Do you suppose 1 
should let you go home by yourself? Come along.' 

Drawing Jenkins's arm within his own, Arthm' turned with him 
Jenkins really did not like it. Sensitive to a degree was he : and, 
to his humble mind, it seemed that Arthur was out of pjace, 

iking familiarly with him. 

You must have been doing something tc tiro youi'self,' said 
6ithur as they went along. 



272 THE CnANNINQS. 

' It lias been a pretty busy day, sir, now Mr. Galloway's away 
1 did not go home to dinner, for one thing.' 

' And Mr. Eoland Yorke absent for another, I suppose T 

* Only this afternoon, sir. His uncle, Lord Carrick, has arrived. 
Oh, sir!' broke off Jenkins, stopping in a panic, 'here's his IcMship 
the bishop coming along ! Whatever shall you do .?' 

'Do!' returned Arthur, scarcely understanding him. 'What 
should I do?' 

' To think that he should see you thus with the like of me !' 

It amused Arthur exceedingly. Poor, lowly-minded Jeukiiis! 
The bishop appeared to divine the state of the case, for he stopped 
when he came up. Possibly he was struck by the wan hue which 
overspread Jenkins's iiice. 

'You look ill, Jenkins,' he said, nodding to Arthur Channing. 
* Keep your hat on, Jenkins — keep your hat on.' 

' Thank you, my lord,' replied Jenkins, disregarding the injunc- 
tion touching his hat. ' A sort of faintness came over mo just now 
under the elm trees, and this gentleman insisted upon walking home 
with me, in spite of my protestations to ' 

Jenkins was stopped by a fit of coughing— a long, violent fit, 
sounding hollow as the grave. The bishop watched him till it was 
over. Arthur watched him. 

' I think you should take better care of yourself, Jenkins,' re- 
marked his lordship. ' Is any physician attending you ?' 

' Oh, my lord, I am not poorly enough yet for that. My wife 
mado me go to Mr. Hurst the other day, my lord, and he gave me 
a bottle of something. But he said it was not medicine that 1 
wanted.' 

' I would advise you to go to a physician, Jenkins. A stitch in 
time saves nine, you know,' the bishop added, in his free good 
humour. 

' So it does, my lord. Thank your lordship for thinking of me,' 
added Jenkins, as the bishop said good afternoon, and pursued his 
way. And then, and not till then, did Jenkins put on his hat 
again. 

' Mr. Arthur, would you be so kind as not to say anything to my 
wife about my being poorly ?' asked Jenkins, as they drew near to 
his home. ' She'd be perhaps, for saying I should not go again yet 
to the office ; and a pretty dilemma that would put me in, Mr. Gal- 
loway being absent. She'd get so fidgety, too : she kills me witb 
kindness, if she thinks I am ill. The broth and arrowroot, ana 
eihcr messes, sir, that she makes me swallow, are untellablo.' 




THE CHANNINGS. 273 

'AJlriglit,' said Artlmr. 

But the intention was frustrated. Who should be standirg at 
the shop-door but Mrs. Jenkins herself. She saw them before they 
saw her, and she saw that her husband looked like a ghost, and 
was supported by Arthur. Of course, she drew her own conclusions ; 
and Mrs. Jenkins was one who did not allow her conclusions to bo 
put down. When Jenkins found that he was seen and suspected, 
he held out no longer, but honestly confessed the worst — that he 
had been taken with a giddiness. 

' Of course,' said Mrs. Jenkins, as she pushed a chair here and 
another there, partly in temper, partly to free the narrow passage 
through the shop to the parlour. * I have been expecting nothing 
less all day. Every group of footsteps slower than usual, I have 
thought it was a shutter arriving and you on it, dropped dead from 
exhaustion. Would you believe ' — turning short round on Arthur 
Channing — * that ho has been such a donkey as to fast from break- 
fast time ? And with that cough upon him !' 

' Not quite to fast, my dear,' deprecated Jenkins. * I ate the 
paper of sandwiches.' 

' Paper of rubbish !* retorted Mrs. Jenkins. * What good do 
sandwiches do a weakly man ? You might eat a ton-load, and be 
none the better for it. Well, Jenkins, you may take your leave of 
having your own way.' 

Poor Jenkins might have deferentially intimated that he never 
did have it, Mrs. Jenkins resumed : 

' He said he'd carry a sandwich with him this morning, instead of 
coming home to dinner. I said, " No." And aftejwards I was such 
a simpleton as to yield ! And here's the effects of it ! Sit yourself 
down in the easy chair,' she added, taking Jenkins by the two 
arms and pushing him into it. * And I'll make the tea now,' con- 
cluded she, turning to the table where the tea-things were set out. 
' There's some broiled fowl coming up for you.' 

'I don't feel as if I could eat this evening,' Jenkins ventured to 
say. 

•Not eat y she repeated with emphasis. * You had better eat — 
that's all. I don't want to have you falling do^wTi exhausted here, 
as you did in the Boundaries.' 

' And as soon as you have had your tea, you should go to bed,' 
put in Arthur. 

' I can't sir. I have got three or four hours' work at that deed. 
It must be done.' 

* At this?' returned Arthur, oj>-*^mg the papers he had carried 



274 THE CHANXIXGS. 

homo. ' Ob, I see : it is a lease. I'll copy this for yon, Jenkins 
I have nothing to do to-night. You take your ease, and go to bed. 
And in spite of their calls, Jenkins's protestations against taking 
up bis time and trouble, and Mrs. Jenkins's proflered invitation to 
partake of tea and broiled fowl, Arthur departed carrying oflf tho 
work; 

CHAPTER XXXYI. 

ELLEN HUNTLEY. 

* A PRETTY time o' day this is to deliver the letters I It's eleven 
o'clock !' 

* I can't help it. The train broke down, and was three hours 
behind its time.' 

* I dare say ! You letter-men want looking up : that's what it is. 
Coming to folks' s houses at eleven o'clock, when they have been 
awaiting and looking ever since breakfast time !' 

* It's not my fault, I say. Take the letter.' 

Judith received it with a grunt, for it was between her and the 
postman that the colloquy took place. A delay had occurred that 
morning in the delivery, and Judith was resenting it, feeling half 
inclined to reject the letter, now that it had come. The letters from 
Germany arrived irregularly ; sometimes by the afternoon's post at 
four, sometimes by the morning; the only two deliveries in 
Ilelstonleigh. A letter had been fully expected this morning, and 
when the time passed over, they supposed there was none. 

It was directed to Miss Channing. Juditli, who was quite as 
anxious about her master's health as the children were, went off 
at once Avitli it to Lady Augusta Yorke's, just as she was, without 
the ceremony of putting on a bonnet. Though she did wear a mob 
cap and a check apron, she looked what she was — a rcspectablo 
servant in a respectable family ; and the Boundaries regarded her 
as such, as she passed through them, the letter in her hand. 
Martha, Lady Augusta's housemaid, answered the door, presenting 
a contrast to Judith. Martha wore a crinoline as big as her lady's, 
and a starched-out muslin gown over it, with flounces and frillings, 
for Martha was * dressed ' for the day. Her arms, red and large, 
were displayed beneath her open sleeves, and something that looked 
like a bit of twisted lace was stuck on the back of her head. 
Martha called it her ' cap.' Judith was a plain servant, and Martha 
was a fashionable one ; but I know which looked the best. 

Judith wo^dd not give in the letter. She asked for the young 



THE CHANNIXGS. 275 

mistress, and Constance came to her in the hall. * Just open it, 
please, Miss Constance, and tell me how he is,' eaid she aaxiously ; 
and Constance broke the seal of the letter. 

* Borcette. Hote. Eosenhad, September. 

' My dear Child, — Still better and better ! The improvement, 
which I told you in my last week's letter had begun to take place 
so rapidly as to make us fear it was but a deceitful one, turns 
out to have been real. Will you believe it, when I tell you that 
your papa can 'jyaZ/c' He can, Constance. With the help of my 
arm, he can walk across the room and along the passage ; and to- 
morrow he is going to try at getting down the first flight of stairs. 
None but God can know how thankful I am ; not even my children. 
If this change has taken place in the first month (and it is not yet 
quite that), what may we not expect in the next — and the next? 
Your papa is writing to Hamish, and will confirm what I say.' 

This much Constance read aloud. Judith gave a glad laugh. 
' It's just as everybody told the master,' said she. * A fine, strong, 
handsome man, like him, wasn't likely to be laid down for life like 
a babby, when he was hardly mid-aged. These doctors here be just 
so many mug's. When I get too old for work, I'll go to Germany 
myself, Miss Constance, and ask 'eni to make me young again.' 

Constance smiled. She was running her eyes over the rest of 
the letter, which was a long one. She caught sight of Arthur's 
name. There were some loving, gentle messages to him, and then 
these words : ' Hamish says Ai'thur applied at Dove and Dove's for 
a clerk's place, but did not come to terms with them. We are 
pleased that he did not. Papa says he should not like to have one 
of his boys at Dove and Dove's.' 

' And here's a little bit for you, Judith,' Constance said aloud. 
* Tell Judith not to be over-anxious in her place of trust ; and not 
to over-work herself, but to let Sarah take her full share. There 
is no hurry about the bed-furniture ; Sarah can do it in an evening 
at her leisure.' 

Judith received the latter portion of the message with scorn. 
' 'Tisn't mo that's going to let her do it ! A fine do it would be, 
Miss Constance ! The first thing I shall see, when I go back now, 
Avill be her head stretched out at one of the windows, and the 
kidney beans left in the kitchen to string and cut themselves !' 

Judith turned to depart. She never would allow any virtues to 
ner helpmate Sarah, who gave about the same trouble to her that 
young servants of twenty do give to old ones. Constance foUowoc' 

T 2 



276 THE CHANNINGS. 

her to the door, saying something which had suddenly occurred to 
her mind about domestic affairs, when who should she meet, coming 
in, but the Eev. William Yorke ! He had just left the Cathedral 
after morning prayers, and was calling in at Lady Augusta's. 

Both were confused; both stopped, face to face, in hesitation. 
Constance grew crimson ; Mr. Yorke pale. It was the first time 
they had met since the parting. There was an angry feeling 
against Constance in the mind of Mr. Yorke ; he considered that 
she had not treated him with proper confidence ; and in his proud 
nature — the Yorke blood was his — he was content to resent it. 
fle did not look to Zo.se Constance eventually ; he expected that the 
present storm would blow over some time, and that things would 
come right again. We are all too much given to trust to that 
vague * some time.' In Constance's mind there existed a soreness 
against Mr. Yorke. He had doubted her ; he had accepted (if he 
had not provoked) too readily her resignation of him. Unlike him, 
she saw no prospect of the future setting matters to rights ; marry 
him, whilst the cloud lay upon Arthur, she would not, after what 
he had intimated of his opinion and sentiments: and that cloud 
could only be lifted at the expense of another. 

They exchanged a confused greeting ; neither conscious how it 
passed. Mr. Yorke's attention was then caught by the open letter 
in her hand — by the envelope bearing the foreign post-marks. 
' How is Mr. Channing ? ' he asked. 

* So much better that it seems little short of a miracle,' replied 
Constance. ' Mamma says,' glancing at the letter, * that he can 
walk, leaning on her arm.' 

' I am so glad to hear it ! Hamish told me last week that lie 
was improving. I trust it may go on to a cure.* 

* Thank you,' replied Constance. And she made him a pretty 
little curtsey of state as she tiuned away, not choosing to see the 
hand he would fain have offered her. 

Mr. Yorke's voice brought a head and shoulders out at the 
breakfast-room door. They belonged to Lord Carrick. He and 
Lady Augusta were positively at breakfast at that hour of the day 
His lordship's eyes followed the light, pretty form of Constance as 
she disappeared up the staircase on her return to the school-room. 
William Yorke's were cast in the same direction. Then their eyes 
— the peer's and the clergyman's — met. 

* Ye have given her up, I understand, Master William ?' 

' Master William ' vouchsafed no replt^. To deemed it a little 
piece of needless impertinence. 



i 



THE CHANNINGS. 277 

* Bad taste ! ' continued Lord Carrick. * If I were but twenty 
years younger, and she'd not turn up her nose at me for a big daft 
of an Irishman, yoiCd not get her, me lad. She's the sweetest little 
thing I have come across this many a day.' 

To which the Kev. William Yorke condescended no answer, 
unless a haughty gesture expressive of indignation might be called 
one, as he brushed past Lord Carrick into the breakfast-room. 

At that very hour, and in a breakfast-room also — though all 
signs of the meal had long been removed — were Mr. Huntley and 
Ids daughter. The same epithet of praise, just bestowed by Lord 
Carrick upon Constance Channing, might with equal justice bo 
given to Ellen Hur tley. She was a lovely girl, three or foury ears 
older than Harry, ^ ith pretty features and soft dark eyes. What's 
more, she was a good girl — a noble, generous-hearted, good girl, 
although (you know nobody is perfection) with a spice of self-will. 
For the latter quality I think Ellen was more indebted to circum- 
stances than to Nature. Mrs. Huntley was dead, and a maiden 
sister of Mr. Huntley's, older than himself, resided with them and 
ruled Ellen ; ruled her with an over-tight hand ; not a kind one, 
not a judicious one ; and that haa brought out Miss Ellen's self- 
Avill. Miss Huntley was very starched, and prim, and stiff — very 
unnatural, in short — and she wished to make Ellen the same. 
Ellen rebelled, for she much disliked everything artificial. She 
was truthful, honest, straightforward ; not unlike the character of 
Tom Channing. Miss Huntley complained that she was too 
straightforward to be ladylike ; Ellen said she was sure she should 
never be otherwise than straightforward, so it was of no use trying 
to be. Then Miss Huntley would take offence, and threaten Ellen 
with ' altering her will,' and that would vex Ellen more than 
anything. Young ladies rarely care for money, especially when 
they have plenty of it ; and Ellen Huntley would have that, from 
her father. ' As if I cared for my aunt's money ! ' she would say. 
' I wish she may not leave it to me.' And she was sincere in the 
wish. Their controversies frequently amused Mr. Huntley. Agi*ee- 
ing in heart and mind with his daughter, he would yet make a 
playful show of taking his sister's part. Miss Huntley knew it to 
be show — done to laugh at her — and would grow as angry with 
him as she was with Ellen. 

Mr. Huntley was not laughing, however, on this morning. On 
the contrary, he appeared to be in a very serious, not to say solemn 
mood. He slowly paced the room, as was his custom when any- 
thing disturbed him, stopping at moments to reflect, buried in 



278 THE CHANNINGS. 

thought. Ellen sat at a table by the window, (Irawin!:i:. The 
house was Mr. Huntley's own — a white villa with a sloping lawn 
in front. It was situated outside the town, on a gentle eminence, 
and commanded a view of the charming scenery for which the 
county was famous. 

Ellen, who had glanced up two or three times, concerned to see 
the very stern, perplexed look on her father's face, at length spoke. 
* Is anything the matter, papa ?' 

Mr. Huntley did not answer. He was standing close to the table 
then, apparently looking at Ellen, at her white morning dress and 
its blue ribbons : it, and she altogether, a fair picture. Probably 
he saw neither her nor her dress — he was too deeply absorbed. 

' You are not ill, are you, papa ?' 

'111!' he answered, rousing himself. 'No, Ellen, I am not 
ill. 

* Then you have had something to vex you, papa 7 

* I have,' emphatically replied Mr. Huntley. * And the worst is, 
that my vexation will not be confined to myself, I believe. It may 
extend to you, Ellen.' 

Mr. Huntley's manner was so serious, his look so peculiar as he 
gazed upon her, that Ellen felt a rush of discomfort, and the colour 
spread itself over her fair face. She jumped to the conclusion that 
she had been giving offence — that Miss Huntley must have been 
complaining of her. 

* Has my aunt been telling you about last night, papa ? Hairy 
had two of the college boys here, and I unfortunately laughed and 
talked with them, and she said afterwards I had done it on purpose 
to annoy her. But I assure you, papa ' 

' Never mind assuring me, child,' interrupted Mr. Huntley. 
'Your aunt has said nothing to me ; and if she had, it would go in 
at one ear and out at the other. It is worse biainess than any 
complaint that she could bring.' 

Ellen laid down her pencil, and gazed at her father, awe-struck 
at his strange tone. ' "What is it ?' she breathed. 

Bat Mr. Huntley did not answer. He remained perfectly still 
for a few moments, absorbed in thought : and then, without a word 
of any sort to Ellen, turned short round to leave the room, took his 
hat as he passed through the hall, and left the house. 

Can you guess what it was that was troubling IVIr. Huntley? 
Very probably, if you can put, as the saying runs, that and that 
together. 

Convinced, as he was, that Arthur Channing was not, could not, 




THE CHANNING8. 279 

bo guilty of taking the bank-note, yet puzzled by the strangely 
tame manner in which he met the charge — confounded by the 
behaviour both of Arthur and Constance relating to it — Mr. Hunt- 
ley had resolved, if possible, to dive into the mystery. He had his 
reasons for it. A very disagreeable, a very improbable suspicion, 
called forth by the facts, had darted across his mind ; therefore ho 
resolved to penetrate to it. And he set to work. He questioned 
Mr. Galloway, he questioned Eutterby, he questioned Jenkins, and 
he questioned Eoland Yorke. He thus became as thoroughly 
conversant with the details of the transaction as it was possible 
for any one, save the actual thief, to be ; and he drew his own 
deductions. Yery reluctantly, very slowly, very cautiously, were 
they drawn, but very surely. The behaviour of Arthur and Con- 
stance could only have one meaning — that they were screening the 
real culprit. And that culprit must be Hamish Channing. 

Unwilling as Mr. Huntley was to admit it, he had no other 
resource. He grew as certain of it as he was of his o^vn life. He 
had loved and respected Hamish in no measured degree. He had 
observed the attachment springing up between him and his 
daughter, and he had been content to observe it. None were so 
worthy of her, in Mr. Huntley's eyes, as Hamish Channing, in all 
respects save one — wealth ; and, of that, Ellen would have plenty. 
Mr. Huntley had known of the trifling debts that were troubling 
Hamish, and he found that those debts, immediately on the loss of 
the bank-note, had been partially satisfied. That the stolen money 
must have been thus applied, and that it had been taken for that 
purpose, he could not doubt. 

Hamish! It nearly made Mr. Huntley's hair stand on end. 
That he must be silent over it, as were Hamish's own family, he 
knew — silent for Mr. Channing's sake. And what about Ellen ? 

Ihere wus the sad, very sad grievance. Whether Hamish went 
wrong, or whether Hamish went right, it was not of so much con- 
sequence to Mr. Huntley ; but it might be to Ellen — in fact, he 
thought it would be. He had risen that morning resolved to hint 
to Ellen that any particular intimacy with Hamish must cease. 
But he was strangely indecisive over it : now that the moment was 
come, he almost doubted, himself, Hamish's guilt. All the im- 
probabilities of the case rose up before him in marked colours ; ho 
lost sight of the condemning facts ; and it suddenly occurred to 
him that it was scarcely fair to judge Hamish so completely with- 
out speaking to him. ' Perhaps he can account to me for the 
possession of the money which ho applied to those debts,' thought 



280 THE CHANNINQ8. 

Mr. Ilimtlby. ' If so, in spite of appearances, I will not deem hid 
guilty.' 

He went out, on the spur of the moment, straight down to the 
office in Guild-street. Hamisli was alone, not at all busy, appa- 
rently. He was standing up by the fireplace, his elbow on the 
mantelpiece, a letter from Mr. Channing (no doubt the one alluded 
to in Mrs. Channing's letter to Constance) in his hand. He re- 
ceived Mr. Huntley with his cordial, sunny smile ; spoke of the 
good news the letter brought, spoke of the accident which had 
caused the delay of the mail, and finally read out part of the letter, 
like Constance had to Judith. 

It was all very well ; but this only tended to embarrass Mr. 
Huntley. He did not like his task, and the more confidential they 
got over Mr. Channing's health, the worse it made it for him to 
enter upon.' As chance had it, Hamish himself paved the way. 
He began telling of an incident which had taken place that morn- 
ing, to the scandal of the town. A young man, wealthy but 
improvident, had been arrested for debt. Mr. Huntley had not yet 
heard of it. 

*It stopped his day's pleasure,' laughed Hamish. *He was 
going along with his gun and dogs, intending to pop at the par- 
tridges, when he got popped upon, himself, instead. Poor fellow ! 
it was too bad to spoil his sport. Had I been a rich man, I should 
have felt inclined to bail him out.' 

' The eff*ect of running in debt,' remarked Mr. Huntley. * By 
the way, Master Hamish, is there no fear of a like catastrophe ^'or 
you?' he added, in a tone which Hamish might, if he liked, take 
for a jesting one. 

* For me, sir ?' returned Hamish. 

'When I left Helstonleigh in June, a certain young friend of 
mine was not quite free from a suspicion of such liabilities,' re- 
joined Mr. Huntley. 

Hamish flushed rosy red. Of all people in the world, Mr. 
Huntley was the one from whom he would, if possible, have kept 
that knowledge, but he spoke up readily. 

* I did owe a thing or two, it can't be denied,' acknowledged he. 
* Men, better and wiser and richer than I, have owed money before 
me, Mr. Huntley. 

' Suppose they serve you as they have served Jenner thia 
morning ?' 

' They will not do that,' laughed Hamish, seemingly very much 
inclined to make a joke of the matter. 'I have squared up some 



THE CHANNINGS. 281 

sufficiently to be on the safe side of danger, and I shall square up 
the rest.' 

]^Ir. Huntley fixed his eyes upon him. 'How did you get the 
money to do it, Hamish ?' 

Perhaps it was the plain, unvarnished manner in which the 
question was put ; perhaps it was the intent gaze with which IMr. 
Huntley regarded him ; but, certain it is, that the flush on Hamish's 
lace deepened to a glowing crimson, and he turned it from Mr. 
Huntley, saying nothing. 

' Hamish, I have a reason for wishing to know. 

'To know what, sir?' asked Hamish, as if he would temporize, 
or stave off the question. 

' Where did you get the money that you applied to liquidate, oi 
partially to liquidate, your debts ?' 

' I cannot satisfy you, sir. The affair concerns no one but my- 
self. I did get it, and that is sufficient.' 

Hamish had come out of his laughing tone, and spoke as firmly 
as Mr. Huntley ; but, that the question had embarrassed him, was 
palpably evident. IMr. Huntley said good morning, and quitted the 
office without shaking hands. All his doubts were confirmed. 

He went straight home. Ellen was where he had left her, still 
alone. Mr. Huntley approached her and spoke abruptly. 'Are 
you willing to give up all intimacy with Hamish Channing ?' 

She gazed at him in surprise, her complexion changing, her voice 
faltering. ' Oh, papa ! what have they done ?' 

'Ellen, did I say "they .?" The Channings are my dear friends, 
and I hope ever to call them such. They have done nothing im- 
worthy of my friendship or of yours. I said Hamish.' 

Ellen rose from her seat, unable to subdue her emotion, and stood 
with her hands clasped before Mr. Huntley. Hamish was far 
dearer to her than the world knew. 

' I will leave it to your good sense, my dear,' Mr. Huntley whis- 
pered glancing round, as if not caring that even the walls should 
hear. ' I have liked Hamish very much, or you may be sure he 
would not have been allowed to come here so frequently. But he 
has forfeited my regard now, as he must forfeit that of all good 
men.' 

She trembled excessively, almost to impede the v/ords, when she 
would have asked what it was that he had done. 

' I scarcely dare breathe it to you,' said Mr. Huntley, ' for it is a 
{hing that we must hush up, like the family are hushing it up. 
When that bank-note was lost, suspicion fell on Aiihur.' 



282 THE CHANlflNGS. 

' Well, papa ?' wonderingly resumed Ellen. 

* It was not Arthur who took it. It was Hamish. And Arthur 
is bearing the stigma,of it for his father's sake.' 

Ellen grew pale. ' Papa, who says it ?' 

* No one says it, Ellen. But the facts leave no room to doubt, 
Hamish's own manner — I have just left him— leaves no room for it. 
Ho is indisputably guilty.' 

Then Ellen's anger, her straightforwardness broke forth. She 
clasped her hands in pain, and her face grew crimson. * He is not 
guilty, papa. I would answer for it with my own life. How dare 
they accuse him ? how dare they asperse him ? Is he not Hamish 
Channing?' 

'Ellen! Ellen V 

Ellen burst into a passionate flood of tears. * Forgive me, papa. 
If he has no one else to take his part, I will do it. I do not wish 
to be undutiful ; and if you bid mo never to see or speak to Hamish 
Channing again, I will implicitly obey you ; but, hear him spoken 
of as guilty, I will not. I wish I could stand up for him against 
the world.' 

* After that, Miss Ellen Huntley, I think you had better sit 
down.' 

Ellen sat down, and cried until she was calm. 



CHAPTEH XXXYII. 

THE CONSPIRATORS. 



Nothing of sufficient consequence to record here, occurred for somo 
weeks to the Channing family, or to those connected with them. 
October came in ; and in a few days would be decided the uncertain 
question of the seniorship. Gaunt would leave the college on the fifth; 
and on the sixth the new senior would be appointed. The head-mastev 
had given no intimation whatever to the school as to which of tho 
three seniors would obtain the promotion, and discussion ran high 
upon the probabilities. Some opined it would be Huntley ; some, 
Gerald Yorke ; a very few, Tom Channing. Countenanced by 
Gaunt and Huntley, as he had been throughout, Tom bore on his 
way, amid much cabal ; but for the circumstance of the senior boy 
espousing (though not very markedly) his cause, his place would 
have been unbearable. Hamish attended to his customary duties 
in Guild Street, and sat up at night as usual in his bed-room, as ihe 
light of his candle testified to Judith's eye's. Arthur tried bravely 



i 



THE CHANNINGS. 283 

for a situation, and tried in vain ; bo could get nothing given to 
him — nobody seemed willing to take him on. There was nothing 
for it but to w^ait in hopeful patience. He took the organ daily, 
and copied, at home, the cathedral music. Constance was finding 
great favour with the Earl of Carrick— but you will hear more 
about that presently. Jenkins grew moro like a shadow day by 
day. Eoland Yorke went on in his impulsive, scapegi'ace fashion. 
Mr. and Mrs. Channing sent home news, hopeful and more hopeful, 
from Germany. And Charley, unlucky Charley, had managed to 
get into hot water with the college school. 

Thus, uneventfully, had passed the month of September. October 
f\'as now in, and the sixth rapidly approaching. What with the 
uncertainty prevailing, the preparation for the examination, which 
on that day would take place, and a little private matter, upon 
which some few were entering, the college school had just then a 
busy and exciting time of it. 

Stephen Bywatcr sat in one of the niches of the cloisters, a pile 
of books by his side. Around him, in various attitudes, were 
gathered seven of the most troublesome of the tribe — Pierce senior, 
George Brittle, Tod Yorke, Fred Berkeley, Bill Simms, Mark Gal- 
loway, and Hurst, who had now left the choir, but not the school. 
They were hatching mischief. Twilight overhung the cloisters; 
the autumn evenings were growing long, and this was a gloomy 
one. Half an hour, at the very least, had the boys been gathered 
there since afternoon school, holding a council of war in covert tones. 

*Paid out he shall be, by hook or by crook,' continued Stephen 
Bywater, who appeared to be president — if talking moro than his 
confreres constitutes one. ' The worst is, how is it to be done ? 
One can't wallop him.' 

' Not wallop him !' repeated Pierce senior, who was a bad-dispo- 
sitioned boy, as well as a mischievous one. ' Why not, pray ?' 

* Not to any good,' said Bywater. ' 1 can't, with that delicate 
face of his. It's like beating a girl.' 

* That's true,' assented Hitrst. * No, it won't do to go in for 
beating; might break his bones, or something. I can't think 
what's the good of those delicate ones putting themselves into a 
school of this sort. A parson's is the place for them ; eight 
gentlemanly pupils, treated as a private family, with a mild usher, 
and a lady to teach the piano.' 

The council bui-st into a laugh at Hurst's mocking tones, and 
Pierce senior interrupted it. 
' I don't see why he shouldn't ' 



284 THE CHANXINGS. 

' Say she, Pierce,' corrected Mark Galloway. 

' She, then. I don't see why she shouldn't get a beating if she 
deserves it ; it will teach her not to try her tricks on again. Let 
her be delicate ; she'll feel it the more.' 

' It's all bosh about his being delicate. She's not,' vehemently 
interrupted Tod Yorke, somewhat perplexed, in his hurry, with the 
personal pronouns. 'Charley Channing's no more delicate than 
we are. It's all in the look. As good say that detestable little 
villain, Boulter, is delicate, because he has got yellow curls. I vote 
for the beating.' 

* I'll vote you out of the business, if you show insubordination, 
Mr. Tod,' cried Bywater. ' We'll pay out Miss Charley in some 
way, but it sha'n't be by beating him.' 

' Couldn't we lock him up in the cloisters, like we locked up 
Ketch, and that lot; and leave him there all night?' proposed 
Berkeley. 

* But there'd be the getting the keys .?' debated Mark Galloway. 

' As if we couldn't get the keys if we wanted to get them !' 
Bcoffingly retorted Bywater. ' We did old Ketch the other time, 
and we could do him again. That would not serve the young one 
out, the locking him up in the cloisters.' 

' Wouldn't it, though !' said Tod Yorke. * He'd bo dead of fright 
before morning, he's so mortally afraid of ghosts.* 

' Afraid of what ?' cried Bywater. 

' Of ghosts. He's a regular coward about them. Ho dare not 
go to bed in the dark for fear of their coming to him. He'd rather 
have five-and-twenty pages of Yirgil to do, than he'd bo left alone 
after nightfall.' 

The notion so tickled Bywater, that ho laughed till ho was 
hoarse. Bywater could not understand the being afraid of * ghosts.' 
Had Bywater met a whole army of ghosts, the encounter would 
only have afforded him pleasure. 

'There never was a ghost seen yet, as long as anybody can 
remember,' cried he, when he came out of his laughter. ' I'd sooner 
believe in Gulliver's travels, than I'd believe in ghosts. What a 
donkey you are. Tod Yorke !' 

' It's Charley Channing that's the donkey ; not me,' cried Tod, 
fiercely. ' I tell you, if we locked him up here for a night, we 
should find him dead in the morning, when we came to let him out. 
Let's do it.' 

' What, to find him dead in the morning !' exclaimed Hurst * You 
arc a nice one, Tod !' 



THE CIIANNINGS. 286 

* Ob, well, I don't mean altogether dead, you know,' acknow- 
ledged Tod. 'But he'd have had a mortal night of it! all his 
clothes gummed together from fright, I'll lay.' 

'I don't think it would do,' deliberated Bywater. *A whole 
night — twelve hours, that would be — and in a fright all the time, if 
he is frightened. Look here ! I have heard of folks losing their 
wits through a thing of the sort.' 

* I won't go in for anything of that,* said Hurst. ' Charley's 
not a bad lot, and he shan't be harmed. A bit of a fright, or a 
bit of a whacking, not too much of either ; that'll be the thing for 
Miss Channing.' 

'Tod Yorke, who told you he was afraid of ghosts.?' demanded 
Bywater. 

' Oh, I know it,' said Tod. * Annabel Channing was telling 
my sisters about it, for one thing : but I knew it before. We 
had a servant once who told us so: she had lived at the 
Channings'. Some nurse frightened him when he was a youngster, 
and they have never been able to get the fear out of him 
since.' 

* What a precious soft youngster he must have been !' said Mr. 
Bywater. 

' She had used to get a ghost and dress it up and show it off to 
Miss Charley ' 

'Get a ghost, Tod?' 

'Bother! you know what I mean,' said Tod, testily. *Get a 
broom or something of that sort, and dress it up with a mask and 
wings: and he is as scared over it now as he ever was. I don't 
care what you say.' 

' Look here I' exclaimed Bywater, starting from his niche, as a 
bright idea occurred to him. ' Let one of us personate a gliost, and 
appear to him ! That would be glorious ! It would give him a 
precious good fright for the time, and no harm done. 

If the boys had suddenly found the philosopher's stone, it could 
scarcely have afforded them so much pleasure as did this idea. It 
was received with subdued shouts of approbation : the only mur- 
mur of dissent to be heard was from Pierce senior. Pierce grumbled 
that it would not be ' half serving him out.' 

* Yes it will,' said Bywater. 'Pierce sonior shall be the ghost: 
he tops us all by a head.' 

' Hurst is as tall as Pierce senior.' 

' That he is not,' interrupted Pierce senior, who was considerably 
mollified at the prospective honour being awarded to him. * Ilurs? 



286 THE CHANNINGS. 

is not much above the tips of my cars. Besides, Hurst is fat ; ar.d 
you never saw a fat ghost yet.' 

' Have you seen many ghosts, Pierce ?' mocked Bywater. 

' A few ; in pictures. Wretched old scarecrows they always arc, 
with a cadaverous face and lantern jaws.' 

' That's the reason you'll do so well, Pierce,' said Bywater, 
* You are as thin as a French herring, you know, with a yard and a 
half length of throat.' 

Pierce received the doubtful compliment flatteringly, absorbed in 
the fine vista of mischief opening before him. ' How shall I get 
myself up, Bywater ?' asked he, complaisantly. * With horns and a 
tail?' 

* Horns and a tail be bothered !' returned Hurst, ' It must bo 
like a real ghost, all white and ghastly.' 

* Of course it must,' acquiesced Bywater. 

*'I know a boy in our village that they served out like that,' 
interposed Bill Simms, who was a country lad, and boarded in 
Helstonleigh. ' They got a gi*cat big tuniip, and scooped it out 
and made it into a man's face, and put a light inside, and stuck it 
on a post where he had to pass at night. He was so frightened that 
he died.' 

* Cram !' ejaculated Tod Yorke. 

'He did, though,' repeated Simms. ' They knew him before for 
an awful little coward, and they did it to have some fun out 
of him. Ho didn't say anything at the time ; didn't scream, or 
anything of that; but after he had got home he was taken ill, 
and the next day he died. My father was one of the jury on the 
inquest. He was a little chap with no father or mother — a plough- 
boy.' 

* The best thing, if you want to make a ghost,' said Tod Yorke, 
' is to get a tin plate full of salt and gin, and set it alight, and 
wrap yourself round with a sheet, and hold the plate so that the 
flame lights up your face. Y'ou never saw anything so ghastly. 
Scooped-out turnips arc all bosh !' 

' I could bring a sheet off my bed,' said Bywater. * Thrown over 
my arm, they'd think at home I was bringing out my surplice. 
And if 

A wheezing and coughing and clanking of keys interrupted the 
proceedings. It was Mr. Ketch, coming to lock up the cloisters. 
As the boys had no mind to be fastened in, themselves, they 
gathered up their books, and waited in silence till the porter was 
closo upon them. Then, with a sudden war-whoop, they sprang 



THE iDHANNINGS. 5?87 

past him, very nearly startling the old man out of Lis senses, and 
calling forth from him a burst of hard words. 

The above conversation, puerile and school-boyish as it may 
seem, was destined to lead to results all too important ; otherwise 
jt would not have been related hero. You very likely may have 
discovered, ere this, that this story of the Helstonleigh college boys 
is not merely a work of imagination, but taken from facts of real 
life. Had you been in the cloisters that night with the boys — and 
you might have been — and heard Master "William Simms, who 
was the son of a wealthy farmer, tell the tale of a boy's being 
frightened to death, you would have known it to be a true one, if 
you possessed any Imowledge of the annals of the vicinity. In like 
manner, the project they were getting up to frighten Charles 
Channing, and Charles's unfortunate propensity to be frightened, 
are strictly true. 

Master Tod Yorke's account of what had imbued his mind with 
this fear, was a tolerably correct one. Charley was somewhat 
troublesome as a young child, fractious, and tlio wicked nurse girl 
who attended upon him (I can call her nothing else) had used to 
dress up frightful figures to terrify him into quietness. She might 
not have been able to accomplish this without detection, but that 
Mrs. Channing was at that time debarred from active superintend- 
ence of her household. When Charley was about two years old 
she fell into ill health, and for eighteen months was almost entirely 
confined to her room. Judith was much engaged with her mistress 
and with household matters, and the baby, as Charley was still 
called, was chiefly left to the mercies of the nurse. Not content 
with frightening him practically, she instilled into his young 
imagination the most pernicious stories of ghosts, dreams, and 

eh like absurdities. But, foolish as icc know them to be, they 
not the less horrible to a child's vivid imagination. At two, or 

n-ee, or four years old, it is eagerly opening to impressions ; and 
things, solemnly related by a mother or a nurse, become impressed 
upon it almost as with gospel truth. Let the fears once be excited 
in this terrible way, and not a whole life-time can finally eradicate 
the evil. I would rather a nurse broke one of my children's limbs, 
than thus poisoned its fair young mind. 

In process of time the girl's work was discovered — discovered 
by Judith. But the mischief was done. You may wonder that 
Mrs. Channing should not have been the first to discover it ; or 
that it could have escaped her notice at all, having the child with 
her often for his early religious instruction ; but, ono of the worst 



1 tin- 



288 THE CHANNINQS. 

pliases of this state of things is, the shrinking tenacity with which 
the victim buries the fears within his own breast. He dare not 
tell his parents ; he is taught not ; and taught by fear. It may 
not have been your -misfortune to meet with a case of this sort; I 
hope you never will. Mrs. Channing would observe that the child 
would often shudder, as with terror, and cling to her in an 
unaccountable manner ; but, having no suspicion of the evil, she 
attributed it to a sensitive, timid temperament. ' What is it, my 
little Charley ?' she would say. But Charley would only buiy his 
face all the closer, and keep silence. When Martha — that was the 
girl's name : not the same Martha who was now living at Lady 
Augusta's— came for him, he would go with her willingly, cordially. 
It was not ber he feared. On the contrary, he was attached to 
her ; she had taught him to be ; and he looked upon her as a 
protector from those awful ghosts and goblins. 

Well, the thing was in time discovered, but the mischief, I say, 
was done. It could not be eradicated. Charles Channing's judg- 
ment and good sense told him that all those bygone terrors were 
but tricks of that wretched Martha's : but, overcome the fear, he 
could not. All consideration was shown to him; he was never 
scolded for it, never ridiculed ; his brothers and sisters observed 
to him entire silence upon the subject — even Annabel : and '^Ir. 
and Mrs. Channing had done reasoning lovingly with him now. 
It is not argument that will avail in a case like this . In the broad 
light of day, Charley could be very brave ; would laugh at such 
tales with the best of them ; but when the dark night came, and 
he was left alone — if he ever was left alone — then all the old 
terror rose up again, and his frame would shake, and his skin break 
out into drops; and he would throw himself on the bed or the floor, 
and hide his face ; afraid of the darkness, and of what he might 
see in it. He was as utterly unable to prevent or subdue this fear, 
as he was to prevent his breathing. He knew it, in the sunny 
morning light, to be a foolish fear, entirely without reason : but, 
in the lonely night, there it came again, and he could not combat 
it. 

Thus, it is easy to understand that the very worst subject for a 
ghost trick to be played upon, was Charles Channing. It was, 
however, going to be done. The defect — for it really is a defect — 
had never transpired to the College school, who would not have 
spared their ridicule, or spared Charley. Eeared, in that point, 
under happier auspices, they could have given nothing but utter 
ridicule to the fear. Chattering Annabel, in her thoughtless 



THE CHANNINGS. 289 

communications to Caroline and Fanny Yorke, had not bargamed 
for their reaching the ears of Tod ; and Tod, when the report did 
reach his ears, remembered to have heard the tale before ; until 
then it had escaped his memory. 

Charley had got into hot water with some of the boys. Bywater 
had been owing him a grudge for weeks, on account of Charley's 
persistent silence touching what he had seen the day the surplice 
was inked ; and now there arose another grudge, on Bywater'« 
sore, and also on that of others. There is not space to enter into 
the particulars of the affair ; it is sufficient to say that some under- 
hand work, touching cribs, came to the knowledge of one of the 
under-masters— and came to him through Charley Channing. 

Not that Charley went, open-mouthed, and told ; there was 
nothing of that disreputable character — which the school held in 
especial dislike — the sneak, about Charles Channing ; Charley 
would have bitten his tongue out first. By an unfortunate accident 
Charles was pinned by the master, and questioned ; and he had no 
resource but to speak out. In honour, in truth, he could not do 
otherwise ; but, the consequence was — punishment to the boys : 
and they turned bitter against him. School-boys are not famous 
for being swayed by the rules of strict justice ; and they forgot to 
remember that in Charles Channing's place they would (at any 
rate, most of them) have felt bound to do the same. They visited 
the accident upon him, and were determined — as you have heard 
them express it in their own phrase — to ' serve him out.' 

Leaving this decision to fructify, let us turn to Constance. 
Lady Augusta Yorke — good-hearted in the main, liberal natured, 
swayed by every impulse like the wind — had been particularly 
kind to Constance and Annabel Channing during the absence of 
their mother. Evening after evening she would insist upon their 
spending at her house, Ilamish— one of Lady Augusta's lasting 
favourites, probably from his good looks — being pressed into the 
visit with them by my lady. Hamish was nothing loth. He had 
given up indiscriminate evening visiting ; and, since the coolness 
which had arisen in tlie manner of Mr. Huntley, Hamish did not 
choose to go much to Mr. Huntley's, where he had been a pretty 
constant visitor before ; and he found his evenings hang somewhat 
heavily on his hands. Thus Constance saw a good deal of the 
Earl of Carrick ; or, it may be more to the purpose to say, the 
Earl saw a good deal of her. 

For the Earl grew to like her very much indeed. He gi'ew to 
tiunk that if she would only consent to become his wife, ho should 

u 



290 THE CHANNINGS. 

be tlio happiest man in ould Ireland ; and one day, Impulsive iu 
his actions as was ever Lady Augusta, he told Constance so, in 
that lady's presence. 

Constance — much as we may regret to hear it of her — behaved 
in by no means a dignified manner. She laughed over it. When 
brought to understand, which she was some little time doing, that 
8he was actually paid that high compliment, she laughed in the 
Earl's face He was as old as her father; and Constance had 
certainly regarded him much more in the light of a father than a 
husband. 

' I do beg your pardon, Lord Carrick,' she said, apologetically, 
' but I think you must be laughing at me.' 

' Laughing at ye !' said the Earl. ' It's not I that would do 
that. I'd like ye to be Countess of Carrick to-morrow, my dear, if 
you can only get over me fifty years and me grey hair. Here's me 
sister — she knows that I'd like to have ye. It's you that are 
laughing at me. Miss Constance ; at me ould locks.' 

' No, indeed, indeed it is not at that,' said Constance, while Lady 
Augusta sat with an impassive countenance. ' I don't know why 
I laughed. It so took me by surprise ; that was why, I think. 
Please do not say any more about it, Lord Carrick.' 

' Yo could not like me as well as ye like William Yorke ? Is 
that it, child ?' 

Constance grew crimson. Like him as she liked William Yorke ! 

' Ye're the nicest girl I have seen since Kathleen Blake,' resumed 
the straightforward, simple Earl. ' She promised to have me ; she 
said she liked me grey hair better than brown, and me fifty years 
better than thirty ; but, while I was putting the place a bit in order 
for her, she went and married a young Englishman. Did ye ever 
see him, Augusta ?' — turning to his sister. * He is a baronet ; he 
came somewhere from these parts.' 

Lady Augusta intimated stiffly that she had not the honour of 
the baronet's acquaintance. She thought her brother was making 
a simpleton of himself, and had a great mind to tell him so. 

'And since Kathleen Blake went over to the enemy, I have not 
seen anybody that I'd care to look twice at, till I came here and 
eaw you, Miss Constance,' resumed the Earl. ' And if ye can only 
get to overlook the natural impediments on me side, and not mind 
me being poor, I'd be delighted, me dear, if ye'd say the wo.";d. 

' You are very kind, very generous. Lord Carrick,' said Constance, 
in an impulse of feeling ; * but I can only beg you never to ask mo 
such a thing again ' 



THE CHANNINGS. 291 

* All ! well, child, I see ye're in earnest,' good-naturedly responded 
the Earl, as he gave it up. * I was afraid ye'd only laugh at me. 
I knew I was too old.' 

And that was the beginning and the ending of Lord Carrick's 
wooing. Scarcely worth recording, you will think. But there 
was a reason for doing so. 



CIIAPTEK XXXYIII. 

THE DECISION, 



The important sixth of October — important to the Helstonleigh 
college boys — did not rise very genially. On the contrary, it rose 
rather sloppily. A soaking rain was steadily descending, and the 
streets presented a continuous scene of puddles. The boys dashed 
through it umbrellaless (I never saw one of them carry an umbrella 
in my life, and don't believe the phenomenon ever was seen), their 
clean surplices on their arms ; on their way to attend ten o'clock 
morning prayers in the cathedral. The day was a holiday from 
school, but not from morning service. The college bell was 
beginning to ring out as they entered the school-room. Standing 
in the senior's place, and calling over the roll, was Tom Channing, 
the acting senior for a few brief hours. Since G aunt's departure, 
the previous day, Tom Channing had been the school's head ; it lay 
in the custom of the school for him so to be. Would his place bo 
confirmed ? or would he lose it ? Tom looked quite flurried with 
the suspense. It was not so much the being appointed senior that 
he thought of, as the disgrace, the humiliation that would be hia 
portion, were he deposed from it. He knew that he desei-ved the 
place ; that it was his by right ; he stood first on the rolls, and he 
had done nothing whatever to forfeit it. He was the school's best 
scholar; and — if he was not a perfect model for conduct always — 
there was this much to be said in his favour, that none of them 
could boast of being better. The opinion of the school had been 
veering round for the last few days in favour of Tom. I do not 
mean that he, personally, was in better odour with it— not at all ; 
the snow-ball, touching Arthur, had gathered strength in the 
rolling — but in favour of his chances of the seniorship. Not a 
breath of intimation had the head-master given ; save that, one 
day, in complaining to Gaunt of the neglect of a point of discipline 
hi the school, which point was entirely under the control of tho 

u 2 



292 THE CHANNINGS. 

senior boy, he had turned to Tom, and said, ' Eemcmber, Chan- 
ning, it must be observed for the future.' Tom's heart leaped ^-ith* 
in him as he heard it, and the boys looked inquiringly at tho 
master. But the master had then got his head buried in tlie 
deep drawer of his desk, hunting for a lost paper. Unless he had 
spoken it in forgetful abstraction — which was not improbable — 
there could be no doubt that he looked upon Tom as Gaunt's suc- 
cessor. The school so interpreted it, and chose to become, 
amongst themselves, sullenly rebellious. As to Tom, who was 
nearly as sanguine in temperament as Ilamish, his hopes and hia 
spirits went up to fever heat. 

One of the last to tear through the street, splashing his jacket 
behind up to the collar, and splashing his surplice, was Harry 
Huntley. He, like all the rest, took care to be in time that 
morning. There would have been no necessity for his racing, how- 
ever, had he not lingered at home, talking. He was running down 
from his room, whither he had gone again after breakfast, to give 
the finishing brush to his hair (I can tell you that some of those 
college gentlemen were dandies, using a pot and a half of bcar's- 
grease a week), when Mr. Huntley's voice was heard, calling hira 
into the breakfast-room. 

' Harry,' said he, ' I don't think that I need enjoin you not to 
suffer your manner to show triumph towards Tom Channing, 
should you be promoted over him to-day.' 

* I shan't be, papa. Channing will have the seniorship.' 

* How do you know that?' 

* Oh, from something Pye let drop. "We look upon it that Chan- 
nmg is as good as senior.' 

Mr. Huntley remembered the tenor of the private conversation 
the master had held with him, and believed his son would find him- 
self mistaken, and that he, Harry, would be made senior. That it 
would be Gerald Yorke, Mr. Huntley did not believe. ' At any 
rate, Harry, take heed to what I say,' he resumed. 'Be en- 
tirely considerate and courteous towards your friend Channing, 
if you should get it. Do not let me have to blush for my son's ill 
feeling.' 

There was a tone in Mr. Huntley's voice which, to Harry's ears, 
seemed to intimate that he did not speak without reason. ' Papa, 
it would not be fair for me to go up over Channing,' he impulsively 
said. 

No. Comparing your merits together, Channing is tho better 
man of the two.' 



THE CnANNlNGS. 293 

Harry laughed. * He is not worse, at all events. Why are you 
Baying this, papa ?' 

' Because I fancy that you are more likely to be the succcssfal 
one than Tom Channing. I wish I may be mistaken. I woulcl 
rather he had it; for, personally, he has done nothing to forfeit 
it.' ■ 

*If Harry could accept the seniorship and displace Tom Chan- 
ning, I would not care to call him my brother again,' interrupted 
Ellen Huntley, with a flashing eye. 

' It is not that, Ellen ; you girls don't understand things, re- 
torted Harry. ' If Pye displaces Tom from the seniorship, he does 
not do it to exalt me ; he does it because he won't have him at any 
price. AVere I to turn round like a chivalrous Knight Templar and 
say I'd not take it, out of regard to my friend Tom, where would 
be the good ? Yorke would get hoisted over me, and I should bo 
laughed at for a duff. But I'll do as you like, papa,' he added, 
turning to Mr. Huntley. *If you wish me not to take the 
honour, I'll resign it in favour of Yorke. I never looked for it to 
be mine, so it will be no disappointment ; I always thought we 
should have Channing,' 

'Your refusing it would do no good to Channing,' said Mr. 
Huntley. * And I should have grumbled at you, Harry, had you 
suffered Yorke to slip over your head. Every one in his own right. 
All I repeat to you, my boy, is, behave as you ought to Tom Chan- 
ning. Possibly I may pay the college school a visit this morning.' 

Harry opened his eyes to their utmost width. 

* You, papa ! Whatever for ?' 

* That is my business,' laughed Mr. Huntley. * It wants but 
twenty minutes to ten, Harry.' 

I Harry, at the hint, bounded into the hall. He caught up his 
jan surplice, placed there ready for him, and stuck his trencher 
; his head, when he was laid hold of by Ellen. 
* Harry, boy, it's a crying wrong against Tom Channing. Ilamish 

never did it ' 

^ Ilamish V interrupted Harry, with a broad grin. *A sign who 
you are thinking of, mademoiselle.' 

Mademoiselle turned the colour of the scarlet door-mat. * You 
know I meant to say Arthur, stupid boy ! It's a crying wrong, 
Harry, upon Tom Channing. Looking at it in the worst light, he 
has been guilty of nothing to forfeit his right. If you can help him 
to the seniorship instead of supplanting him, be a brave boy, and 
do it. God sees all things.' 



294 THE OHAWKINaS. 

* I shall be lato, as sure tis a gun !' impatiently returned Harry, 
And away he spod through the rain and mud, never slacking speed 
till ho was in the college school-room. 

He hung up his trencher, flung his surplice on a bench, and 
went straight up, with outstretched hand, to Tom Channing, who 
stood as senior, unfolding the roll. ' Good luck to you, old fellow !' 
cried ho, in a clear voice, that rang through the spacious room. 
* I hope, with all my heart, that you'll be in this post for many a 
Jay.' 

' Thank you, Huntley,' responded Tom. And he proceeded to 
call over the roll, though his cheek burnt at sundry hisses that 
came, in subdued tones, from various parts of the room. 

Every boy was present. Not a king's scholar but answered to 
his name ; and Tom signed the roll for the first time. ' Channing, 
acting senior.' Not ' Channing, senior,' yet. It was a whim of 
Mr. Pye's that on Sundays and saints' day — that is, whenever the 
king's scholars had to attend service — the senior boy should sign 
the roll. 

Then they put on their surplices : and rather damp surplices 
some of them were The boys mostly disdained bags; let the 
weather be what it might, the surplices, like themselves, went 
openly through it. Eeady in their surplices and trenchers, Tom 
Channing gave the word of command, and they were on the point 
of filing out, when a freak took Pierce senior to leave his proper 
place in the ranks, and walk by the side of Brittle. 

' Halt !' said Channing. ' Pierce senior, take your place.' 

' I shan't,' returned Pierce. 'Who is to compel me ?' he added 
with a mocking laugh. * We are without a senior for once.' 

* I will,' thundered Tom, his face turning white at the implied 
sneer, the incipient disobedience. 'I stand hero as the school's 
senior now, whatever I may do later, and I will bo obeyed. 
Return to your proper place.' 

There was that in Tom's eye, in Tom's tone, that somehow 
overawed Mr. Pierce ; and he walked sheepishly to his own place. 
Thero was no mistaking that Channing would make a firm senior. 
The boys proceeded, two and two, decorously through the cloisters, 
Bnatching off their trenchers as they entered the college gates. 
Tom and Huntley walked last, Tom bearing the keys. The choir 
gained, the two branched off right and left, Huntley placing himself 
at the head of the boys on the left, or cantor i side ; Tom, assuming his* 
place as acting senior, on the decani. W^hen they should sit next 
in that cathedral would their posts be reversed ? 



THE CHANNING8. 295 

Tho dean was present: also three canons— Dr. Burrows, who 
was subdcan, Dr. Gardner, and Mr. Mencc. Tho head-master 
ohauted, and in the stall next to him sat Gaunt. 'Gaunt had 
discarded his surplice with his schoolboy life ; but curiosity with 
regard to the seniorship brought him amongst them again that day. 
' I hope you'll keep the place, Channing,' he whispered to him, as 
he passed the boys to get to his stall. Arthur Channing was at his 
place at the organ. 

Ere eleven o clock struck, service was over, and tho boys 
marched back again. Not to the school-room— into tho chapter- 
house. The examination, which took place once in three years, was 
there held. It was conducted quite in a formal manner; Mr. 
Galloway, as chapter clerk, being present, to call over the roll. The 
dean, the three prebendaries who had been at service, tho head and 
other masters of the school, all stood together in the chapter-house ; 
and the king's scholars, wearing their surplices still, were ranged 
in a circle before them. 

Tho dean took the examination. Dr. Burrows put a question 
now and then, but the dean chiefly took it. There is neither space 
nor time to follow it in detail here; and nobody would care to 
read it, if it were followed. As a whole, the school acquitted 
itself well, doing credit to its masters : one of the chapter — it was 
Dr. Gardner, and the only word he spoke throughout — remarked 
that the head boy was a sound scholar, meaning Tom Channing. 

The business over, the dean's words of commendation spoken, 
then the head-master took a step forward and cleared his throat. 
He addressed himself to the boys exclusively ; for, what he had 
to say, had reference to them and himself alone : it was supposed 
not to concern the clergy. As to the boys, those of them who 
were of an excitable temperament, looked quite pale with suspense, 
now the long-expected moment was come. Channing ? Huntley ? 
Yorke ? — which of the three would it be. 

The praise bestowed upon you, gentlemen, by the Dean and 

Biapter has been, if possible, more gratifying to myself than tc 
►u. It would be superfluous in me to add a word to the adm(>- 
tion given you by the Very Eeverend the Dean, as to your future 
induct and scholarly improvement. I can only hope, with him, 
that they may continue to be such as to afl"ord satisfaction to 
myself, and to those gentlemen who are associated with me as 
masters in the collegiate school. 

A pause and a dead silence. The head-master cleared his throat 
again, and went on 



296 THE CHANNINGS, 

' The retirement of William Gaunt from the school, renders the 
eeniorship vacant. I am sorry that circumstances, to which I will 
not more particularly allude, prevent my bestowing it upon tho 
boy whoso name stands first upon the rolls, Thomas Ingram 
Channing. I regret this the more, that it is not from any personal 
fault of Channing's that he is passed over ; and this fact I beg may 
be most distinctly understood. Next to Channing's name stands 
that of Henry Huntley, and to him I award the seniorship. Henry 
Huntley, you are appointed senior of Helstonleigh Collegiate 
School. Take your place.' 

The dead silence was succeeded by a buzz, a murmur, suppressed 
almost as soon as heard. Tom Channing's face turned scarlet, then 
became deadly white. It was a cruel blow. Huntley, with an 
impetuous step, advanced a few paces, and spoke up bravely, 
addressing the master. 

' I thank you, sir, for the honour you have conferred upon me, 
but I have no right to it, either by claim or merit. I feel that it 
is but usurping the place of Channing. Can't you give it to him, 
please sir, instead of to me ?' 

The speech, begun formally and grandly enough for a royal 
president at a public dinner, and ending in its schoolboy fashion, 
drew a smile from more than one present. 'No,' was all tho 
answer vouchsafed by Mr. Pye, but it was spoken with unmistake- 
able emphasis, and he pointed his finger authoritatively to tho 
place already vacated by Tom Channing. Huntley bowed, and took 
it j and the next thing seen by the boys was Mr. Galloway altering 
the roll. He transposed the names of Channing and Huntley. 

The boys, bowing to the clergy, filed out, and proceeded to the 
school-room, the masters following them. Tom Channing was 
very silent. Huntley was silent. Yorke, feeling mad with every- 
body, was silent. In short, the whole school was silent. Channing 
delivered the keys of the school to Huntley ; and Mr, Pye, with his 
own hands, took out the roll and made the alteration in the names. 
For, the roll belonging to the chapter-house was not, as you may 
have thought, the every-day roll of the school-room. Take care 
what you are about, Huntley,' said the master. * A careless senior 
never finds favour with me.' 

* Very well, sir,' replied Huntley. But he was perfectly con- 
Bcious, as he spoke, that his chief fault, as senior, would be that of 
carelessness. And Gaunt, who was standing by, and knew it also, 
telegraphed a significant look to Huntley. The other masters 
went up to Huntley, shook hands, and congratulated him, for that 



THE CHANNINGS. 207 

was the custom of the school ; indeed, it was for that purpose only 
that the masters had gone into the school-room, where they had, 
that day, no business. Gaunt followed suit next, in shaking hands 
and congratulating, and the school afterwards; Gerald Yorke 
doing his part with a bad grace. 

' Thank you all,' said Harry Huntley. ' But it ought to have 
been Tom Channing.' Poor Tom's feelings, dm-ing all this, may be 
imagined. 

The king's scholars were slinging their surplices on their arms 
to depart, for they had full holiday for the remainder of the day, 
when they were surprised by the entrance of Mr. Huntley. He 
went straight up to the head-master, nodding pleasantly to the 
boys, right and left. 

* Well, and who is your important senior ?' ho gaily demanded of 
the master. 

* Henry Huntley.' 

Mr. Huntley drew in his lips. ' For another's sake I am sorry to 
hear it. But I can only express my hope that he will do his duty.' 
' I have just been telling him so,' observed the master. 

* What brings me here, is this, sir,' continued Mr. Huntley to 
the master. ' Knowing there was a doubt, as to which of the 
three senior boys would be chosen, I wished, should it prove to bo 
my son, to speak a word about the Oxford exhibition, which, I 
believe, generally accompanies the seniorship. It falls due next 
Easter.' 

* Yes,' said Mr. Pye. 

' Then allow me to dechne it for my son,' replied Mr. Huntley. 
' He will not need it ; and therefore should not stand in the light 
of any other boy. I deemed it well, sir, to state this at once.' 

' Thank you,' warmly responded the head-master. He knew that 
it was an unselfish, not to say generous, act. 

Mr. Huntley approached Tom Channing. He took his hand ; ho 
shook it heartily, with every mark of affection and respect. ' You 
must not allow this exaltation of Harry to lessen the friendship 
you and he entertain for each other,' he said, in tones that reached 
every pair of ears present — and not one but was turned up to 
listen. * You are more deserving of the place than he, and I am 
deeply sorry for the circumstances which have caused him to 
6upplant you. Never mind, Tom ; bear on bravely, lad, and you'll 
outlive vexation. Continue to be worthy of your noble father; 
continue to be my son's friend ; there is no boy living whom I 
would so soon he took pattern by, as by you.' 



298 THE CHANNINGS. 

Tho hot tears rushed into Tom's eyes, and his lip quivered. But 
that he remembered where he was, he might have lost his self- 
control. * Thank you, sir,' he answered, in a low tone. 
' ' Whew !' whistled Tod Yorke, as they were going out * A liuo 
friend he is ! A thief s brother.' 

* A thief 8 brother ! A thief s brother !' was the echo. 

'But he's not our senior. Ha! ha! that would have been a 
good joke ! He's not our senior !' 

And down the steps they clattered, and went splashing homo, as 
they had come, they and their surplices, through tho wet streets 
and tho rain. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE GHOST. 

The moon was high in the heavens. Lighting up the tower of the 
cathedral, illuminating its pinnacles, glittering through the elm 
trees, bringing forth into view even the dark old ivy on the preben- 
dal houses. A fair night— all too fair for the game that was going 
to be played in it. 

When the Helstonleigh college boys resolved upon what they 
were pleased to tenn a ' lark ' — and, to do them justice, they regarded 
this, their prospective night's work, in no graver light — they car- 
ried it out artistically, with a completeness, a skill, worthy of a 
better cause. Several days had they been hatching this, laying 
their plans, arranging the details ; it would be their own bungling 
fault if it miscarried. But the college boys were not bunglers. 

Stripped of its details, the bare plot was to exhibit a ' ghost' in 
the cloisters, and to get Charley Channing to pass through them. 
The seniors knew nothing of the project. Huntley — it was the day 
following his promotion — would have stopped it at once, careless as 
he was. Tom Channing would have stopped it. Gerald Yorko 
might or might not ; but Tod had taken care not to tell Gerald. 
And GriflSn, who was burning to exercise in any way his newly ac- 
quired power, would certainly have stopped it. They had been too 
wise to let it come to the knowledge of the seniors. The most 
difficult part of tlie business had been old Ketch ; but that was 
managed. 

The moonlight shone peacefully on the Boundaries, and the con* 
spinitors were stealing up, by ones and twos, to their ];)lace of meet- 
ing, round the dark trunks of the elm trees. Fine as it was over* 



VCl* ,H 

d 



THE OHANNINGS. 299 

head, it was less so under-foot. Tho previous day, you may re- 
member, had been a wet one, the ni;;ht had been wet, and also 
the forepart of the present day. Schoolboys are not particularly 
given to reticence, and a few more than the original conspirators 
had been taken into the plot. They were winding up now, in tho 
weird moonlight, for the hour was approaching. 

Once more we must pay a visit to Mr. Ketch in his lodge, at his 
supper hour. Mr. Ketch had changed his hour for that important 
meal. Growing old with ago or with lumbago, ho found early rest 
congenial to his bones, as he informed his friends : so he supped at 
seven, and retired betimes. Since the trick played him in the sum- 
mer, he had taken to have his pint of ale brought to him ; deeming 
it more pnident not to leave his lodge and the keys, to fetch it. 
This was known to the boys, and it rendered their plans a little 
more difiScult. 

Mr. Ketch, I say, sat in his lodge, having locked up the cloisters 
about an hour before, sneezing and wheezing, for he was suffering 
from a cold, caught the day previously in the wet. He was spell- 
ing over a weekly twopenny newspaper, borrowed from the public- 
house, by the help of a flaring tall(?w candle, and a pair of spec- 
tacles, of which one glass was out. Cynically severe was he over 
everything he read, as you know it was in the nature of Mr. Ketch 
to be. As the three-quarters past six chimed out from the cathe- 
dral clock, his door was suddenly opened, and a voice called out 
* Beer !' Mr. Ketch's supper ale had arrived. 

But the arrival did not give that gentleman pleasure, and he 
started up in what, but for the respect we bear him, we might call 
a fury. Dashing his one-eyed glasses on the table, he attacked tho 
man: — 

' What d'yo mean with your " beer " at this time o' the evening? 
It wants a quarter to seven ! Haven't you got no ears ? haven't 
you got no clock at your place ? D'ye think I shall take it in 
now ?' 

' Well, it just comes to this,' said the man, who was the brewer 
at the public-house, and made himself useful at odd jobs in his 
spare time ; ' if you don't like to take it in now, you can't have it 
at all, of my bringing. 1 bo a-going up to t'other end of the town, 
and shan't be back of this side ten.' 

Mr. Ketch, with much groaning and grumbling, took the ale and 
poured it into a jug of his own — a handsome jug, that had been in 
the wars, and lost its spout and handle — giving back the public 
house jug to the man. ' You serve me such a impcrant trick again, 



300 THE CHANNINGS. 

as to bring my ale a quarter of a hour aforeliand, that's all !' gnarled 
he. 

The man received the jug, and went off whistling ; he had the 
pleasure of knowing Mr. Ketch and his temper well. That gentle- 
man shut his door with a bang, and proceeded to get out his custo- 
mary bread and cheese. Not that he had any great love for a 
bread and cheese supper as a matter of taste : he would very much 
have preferred something more dainty; only, dainties and Mr. 
Ketch's pocket did not agree, 

* They wants to be took down a notch, that public — sending out 
a man's supper beer a quarter afore seven, when it ain't ordered to 
come till seven strikes. Much they cares if it stops a waiting and 
a flattening, and gets undrinkable ! Be I a slave, that 1 should be 
forced to swaller my supper afore my tea have well gone dowTi, jugt 
to please them? They have got a sight too much custom, that's 
what it is.' 

He took a slight draught of the offending ale, and was critically 
surveying the loaf, before applying to it that green-handled knife of 
his, whose native elegance you have heard of, when a second sum- 
mons was heard at the door — a very timid one this time. 

Mr. Ketch flung down the bread and the knife. * "What's the 
reason I can't get a meal in quiet ? Who is it ?' 

There was no response to this, save a second faint tapping. 
Come in !' roared out he. * Pull the string o' the latch.' 

But nobody came in, spite of this lucid direction ; and the timid 
tapping, which seemed to proceed from very small knuckles, was 
repeated again. Mr. Ketch was fain to go, granting, and open it. 

A young damsel of eight or so, in a tattered tippet, and a large 
bonnet — probably her mother's — stood there, curtseying. ' Please, 
sir, Mr. Ketch is wanted.' 

]Mr. Ketch was rather taken aback at this strange address, and 
surveyed its messenger in astonishment. ' Who be you ? and who 
wants him ?' growled he. 

* Please, sir, it's a gentleman as is a waiting at the big gi-een gates,' 
was the reply, ' Mr. Ketch is to go to him this minute ; he told mo 
to come and say so, and if you didn't make haste he should be 
gone.' 

' Can't yo" ^peak consistent ?' snarled Ketch. ' Who is the gen- 
tleman ?' 

* Please, sir, I think it's the bishop.' 

This put Ketch in a fluster. The * big green gates ' could only 
Uavc reference to the private entrance to the bishop s garden, which 




THE CHANNINGS. 301 

en trance his lordship used when attending the cathedral. That the 
bisbop was in Helstonleigh, Ketch knew: he had arrived that day, 
after a short absence : what on earth could he want with him ? 
Never doubting, in his hurry, the genuineness of the message. Ketch 
pulled his door to, and stepped off, the young messenger having 
already decamped. The green gates were not one minute's walk 
from the lodge — though a projecting buttress of the cathedral pre- 
vented the one being in sight of the other — and old Ketch gained 
them, and looked around. 

Where was the bishop ? The iron gates, the garden, the white 
stones at his feet, the towering cathedral aloft, all lay cold and 
calm in the moonlight, but of human sound or sight there was none. 
The gates were locked when he came to try them, and he could not 
see the bishop anywhere. 

He was not likely to see him. Stephen Bywater, who took upon 
himself much of the plot's acting part — of which, to give him his 
due, he was boldly capable — had been on the watch in the street, 
near the cathedral, for a messenger that would suit his purpose. 
Seeing this young damsel hurrying along with a jug in her hand, 
possibly to buy beer for her home supper, he waylaid her. 

'Little ninepins, would ycu like to get threepence .?' asked he. 
* You shall have it, if you 11 carry a message for me close by.' 

'Little ninepins' had probably never had a whole threepence to 
herself in her young life : she caught at the tempting suggestion, 
and JBy water drilled into her his instructions, finding her exces- 
sively stupid over the process. Perhaps that was all the better. 
' Now you mind, you are not to say who wants Mr. Ketch, unless 
he asks,' repeated he for about the fifth time, as she was departing 
to do the errand. ' If he asks, say you think it's the bishop.' 

So she went, and delivered it. But had old Ketch's temper 
allowed him to go into minute questioning, he might have dis- 
covered the trick. Bywater stealthily followed the child near the 
lodge, screening himself from observation ; and, as soon as old 
Ketch hobbled out of it, he popped in, snatched the cloister keys 
from their nail, and deposited a piece of paper, folded as a note, on 
Ketch's table. Then he made oif. 

Back camo Ketch, after a while. He did not know quite what 
to make of it, but rather inclined to the opinion that the bishop 
had not waited for him. ' He might have wanted me to take a 
errand }-ound to the deanery,' soliloquised he. And this thought 
had caused him to tarry about the gates, so that he was absent 
froin hi? lodge quite ten minutes. The first thing he saw, ou 



802 THE CHANNINGS. 

entering, was the bit of paper on his table. lie seized and opened 
it, grumbling aloud that folks used his house just as they pleased, 
going in and out without reference to his presence or his absence. 
The note, written in pencil, purported to be from Joseph Jenkins. 
It ran as follows : — 

' My old father is coming up to our place to-night, to eat a bit of 
supper, and he says he should like you to join him, which I and 
Mrs. J. shall be happy if you will, at seven o'clock. It's tripe and 
onions. Yours, 

' J. Jenkins.' 

Now, if there was one delicacy, known to this world, more 
delicious to old Ketch's palate than another, it was tripe, seasoned 
with plenty of onions. His mouth watered as ho read. He was 
aware that it was — to use the phraseology of Helstonleigh — ' tripe 
night.' On two nights in the week, tripe was sold in the town 
~eady dressed, onions and all. This was one ; and Ketch antici- 
pated a glorious treat. In too great a hurry to cast so much as a 
glance round liis lodge (crafty By water had been deep), not stop- 
ping even to put up the loaf and the cheese and the green-handled 
knife, only drinking the beer, away hobbled Ketch as fast as his 
lumbago would allow him, locking safely his door, and not having 
observed the absence, of the keys. 

*He ain't a bad sort, that Joe Jenkins,' allowed he, conciliated 
beyond everything at the prospect the invitation held out, and 
talking to himself as he limped away towards the street. *He 
don't write a bad hand, neither ! It's a plain un ; not one o' thero 
new-fangled scrawls that you can't read. Him and liis wife have 
held up their heads a cut above me — oh yes, they have, though, for 
all Joe's humbleness — but the grand folks be a coming to. Old 
Jenkins has always said we'd have a supper together some night, 
him and me ; I suppose this is it. I wonder what made him take 
and have it at Joe's ? If Joe don't soon get better nor he have 
looked lately ' 

The fii*st chime of the cathedral clock giving notice of the hour, 
seven ! Old Ketch broke out all in a heat, and tried to hobble 
along quicker. Seven o'clock ! What if, through being late, his 
share of the tripe and onions should be eaten ! 

Peering out every now and then from the deep shade, cast by 
one of the angles of the cathedral, and as swiftly and cautiously 
drawn back again, was a trencher apparently watching Ketch. 
A s Boou as that functionary was fairly launched on his way, t! 



THE 0HANNING8. 803 

trencher caine out entirely, and went flying at a swift pace ri»und 
the college to the Boundaries. 

It was not worn by Bywatcr. Byvvater, by the help of tlio 
filched keys, was safe in the cloisters, absorbed with his companions 
in the preparations for the grand event of the night. In point of 
fact, they were getting up Pierce senior. Their precise naode of 
doing that need not be given. They had requisites in abundance, 
naving disputed among themselves which should be at the honour 
of the contribution, and the result was an over prodigality. 

' There's seven !' exclaimed Bywater in an agony, as the clock 
struck. ' Make haste. Pierce ! the young one was to come out at 
a quarter past. If you're not ready it will ruin all.' 

• I shall be ready and waiting, if you don't bother,' was the 
response of Pierce. * I wonder if old Ketch is safely off?' 

' ^Tiat a stunning fright Ketch would be in, if he came in hero 
and met the ghost !' exclaimed Ilurst. ' He'd never think it was 
anything less than the Old Gentleman come for him.' 

A chorus of laughter, which Ilurst himself hushed. It would 
not do for noise to be heard in the cloisters at that hour. 

There was nothing to which poor Charley Channing was more 
a'ensitive, than to ridicule on the subject of his unhappy failing — 
the propensity to fear ; and there is no failing to which schoolboys 
are more intolerant. Of moral courage — that is, of courage in the 
cause of right— Charles had plenty ; of physical courage, little. 
Apart from the misfortune of having had supernatural terror im- 
planted in him in childhood, he would never have been physically 
brave. Schoolboys cannot understand that this shrinking from 
danger (I speak of palpable danger), which they call cowardice, 
nearly always emanates from a superior intellect. "Where the 
mental powers are of a high order, the imagination unusually 
awakened, danger is sure to be keenly perceived, and sensitively 
Blirunk from. In proportion will be the shrinking dread of ridicule, 
Charles Channing possessed this dread in a remarkable degree ; 
you may therefore judge how he felt, when he found it mockingly 
alluded to by Bywater. 

On this very day that wo are writing of, Bywater caught 
Charles, and imparted to him in profdjimd confidence an important 
secret ; that a choice few of the boys were about to play old Ketch 
a trick, obtain the keys, and have a game in the cloisters by moon- 
light. A place in the play, ho said, had been assigned to Charles. 
Charles hesitated. Not because it might be wrong so to cheat 
Ketch— Ketch was the common enemy of the boys, of Cliarley aJi 



304 THE CHANNINGS. 

of the rest — ^bufc because he had plenty of lessons to do. This waa 
Bywater's opportunity; he chose to interpret the hesitation 
differently. 

* So you are afraid, Miss Charley ! Ho ! ho ! Do you think the 
cloisters will be dark ? that the moon won't keep the ghosts away ? 
I say, it can't be true, what I heard the other day — that you dare 
not be in the dark, lest ghosts should come and run away with 
you! 

* Nonsense, Bywater !' returned Charley, changing colour like a 
conscious girl. 

* Well, if you are not afraid, you'll come and join us,' sarcastically 
returned Bywater. * We shall have stunning good sport. There'll 
be about a dozen of us. Eubbish to your lessons ! you need not bo 
away from them more than an hour. It won't be dark, Miss 
Channing.' 

After this, nothing would have kept Charley away, fearing their 
ridicule. He promised faithfully to be in the cloisters at a quarter 
past seven. 

Accordingly, the instant tea was over, he got to his lessons ; 
Tom at one side of the table — who had more, in proportion, to do 
than Charles — he at the other. Thus were they engaged when 
Hamish entered. 

' What sort of a night is it, Hamish ?' asked Charles, thinking of 
the projected night play. 

* Fine,' replied Hamish. * Where are they all ?' 

' Constance is in the drawing-room, giving Annabel her music 
lesson. Arthur's there too, I think, copying music' 

The silence was resumed. Hamish stood over the fire in thought. 
Tom and Charles went on with their studies. ' Oh dear !' presently 
exclaimed the latter, in a tone of subdued impatience. 

Hamish turned his eyes upon him. He thought the bright 
young face looked unusually weary. ' What is it, Charley, boy ?' 

'It's this Latin, Hamish. I can't make it come right. And 
Tom has no time to tell me.' 

' Bring the Latin here.' 

Charles carried his difiBculties to Hamish. * It won't come right, 
••epeated he. 

* Like Mrs. Dora Copperfield's figures, I expect, that wouldn't 
add up,' said Hamish, as he cast his eyes over the exercise book. 
' Halloa, young gentleman ! what's this ? You have been cribbing.' 
He had seen in the past leaves certain exercises so excellently woll 
done as to leave no doubt upon the pouit, 



THE CHANNIKGS. 305 

Charles turned crimson. Cribs were particularly objectionable 
to Mr. Channing, who had forbidden their use, so far as his sons 
were concerned. ' I could not help it, Hamish. I used the cribs 
for about a week. The desk made me.' 

' Made you !' 

'Well,' confessed Charley, 'there has been a row about the 
cribbing. The rest had cribbed, and I had not, and somehow, 
through that, it came out to the second master. He asked mo 
a lot of questions, and I was obliged to tell. It made tho desk 
savage, and they said I must do as they did.' 

' Which you complied with ! Nice young gentlemen, all of 
you !' 

' Only for five or six days, Hamish. You may see that, if you 
look. I am doing my lessons on the square, now, as I did before.' 

' And don't go oflf the square again, if you please, sir,' repeated- 
Hamish, * or you and I may quarrel. If Mr. Channing is not here, 
I am.' 

' You don't know how tyrannical the college boys arc.' 

' Don't I !' said Hamish. ' I was a college boy rather longer 
than you have been yet. Master Charley.' 

He sat down to the table and so smoothed Charley's difficulties 
that the boy soon went on swimmingly, and Hamish left him. 
'How do you get on, Torn?' Hamish asked. 

'Better than 1 need,' was Tom's answer, delivered somewhat 
roughly. 'After the injustice done me yesterday, it does not 
much matter how I get on.' 

Hamish turned himself round to the tire, and said no more, 
neither attempting to console nor soothe. Charles's ears were 
listening for the quarter past seven, and, the moment it chimed 
out, he quitted his work, took his trencher from the hall, and 
departed, saying nothing to anybody. 

He went along whistling, j)ast Dr. Gardner's house, past the 
deanery ; they and tho cathedral tower, rising above them, looked 
grey in the moonlight. He picked up a stone and sent it right into 
one of tho elm trees ; some of tho birds, disturbed from their roost, 
flew out, croaking, over his head. In the old days of superstition 
it might have been looked upon as an ill omen, coupled with what 
was to follow. Ah Charley ! if you could but foresee what is before 
} on ! If Mrs. Channing, from her unconscious, far-off sojourn, 
could but know what gi-icvous ill is about to overtake her boy ! 

Poor Charley suspected nothing. He was whistling a merry 
tune, laughing, boy-like, at the discomfiture of the cawing rooks, 

X 



306 THE CHANNINGS. 

and anticipating the stolen game be and his friends vcere about to 
enjoy on forbidden ground. Not a boy in the school loved play 
better than did Master Charles Channing. 

A door on the opposite side of the Boundaries was suddenly 
opened, to give egress to one who sprung out with a bound. It 
was Gerald Yorke : and Charley congratulated himself that they 
were on opposite sides ; for he had been warned that this escapade 
was to be kept from the seniors. 

At that minute he saw a boy come forth from the cloisters, and 
softly whistle to him, as if in token that he was being waited for. 
Charley answered the whistle, and set off to run. AVhich of the 
boys it was he could not tell ; the outline of the form and the 
college cap were visible enough in the moonlight ; but not the face. 
When he gained the cloister entrance he could no longer see him, 
but supposed the boy had preceded him into the cloisters. On 
went Charley, gi'oping his way down the narrow passage. ' Where 
are you ?' called out he. 

There was no answer. Once in the cloisters, a faint light came 
in from the open windows overlooking the burial-yard. A very 
faint light, indeed, for the buildings all round it were so high, 
as almost to shut out a view of tlie sky : you must go close to the 
window-frame before you could see it. 

'I — s-a-a-y!' roared Charley again, at the top of his voice, 
* where are you all ? Is nobody here ?' 

There came neither response nor sign of it. One faint sound 
certainly did seem to strike upon his ear from behind ; it was like 
the click of a lock being turned. Charley looked sharply round, 
but all seemed still again. The low, dark, narrow passage was 
behind him ; the dim cloisters were before him ; he was standing at 
the comer formed by the cast and south quadrangles, and the 
pale burial-ground in their midst, with its damp gi-ass and its 
grave-stones, looked cold and lonesome in the moonlight. 

The strange silence — it was not the silence of daylight— struck 
upon Charles with dismay. 'You fellows, there!' he called out 
again, in desperation. 'What's the good of playing up this 
nonsense ?' 

The tones of his voice died aAvay in the echoes of the cloisters, 
but of other answer there was none. At that instant a rook, no 
doubt one of the birds he had disturbed, came diving down, and 
flapped its wings across the burial-ground. The sight of some- 
thing, moving there, nearly startled Charles out of his senses, and 
the matter was not mvch mended when he discovered it was only 



THE OHA-NNINGS. 307 

a bird. Ho turned, and flew down the passage to tlio entrance 
quicker than be bad come up it ; but, instead of passing out, be 
found the iron gate closed. What could have shut it.? There 
was no wind. And if there had been a wind ever so boisterous, 
it could scarcely have moved that little low gate, for it opened 
inwards. 

Charles seized it to pull it open. It resisted his eflforts. He 
tried to shako it, but little came of that, for the gate fastened 
firmly. Bit by bit stole the conviction over his mind that he was 
locked in. 

Then a panic seized him. He was locked in the ghostly cloisters, 
close to the graves of the dead ; on the very spot vhere, as idle 
tales went, the monks of bygone ages came out ofihose recording 
stones, under his feet, and showed themselves at midnight. Not a 
step could he take, round the cloisters, but his foot must press those 
stones. To be locked in the cloisters had been nothing (in this 
point of view), for brave, grown, sensible men, such as the bishop, 
Jenkins, and Ketch — and they had been three in company, besides 
—but for many a boy it would have been a great deal ; and for 
Charles Channing it was awful. 

That he was alone, he never doubted. He believed — as fully as 
belief, or any other feeling could flash into his horrified mind and 
find a place in it — that By water had decoyed him into the cloisters 
and left him there, in return for his refusal to disclose what he 
knew of the suspicions bearing upon the damaged surplice. All 
the dread terrors of his childhood rose up before him ; to say that 
he was mad in that moment might not be quite correct ; but it is 
certain his mind was not perfectly sane. His whole body, his face, 
his hair, grqw damp in an instant, as does one in mortal agony, and 
with a smothered cry, which was not like that of a human being, 
lie turned and fled through the cloisters, in the vague hope to find 
the other gate open. 

It may be difficult for some of you to understand this excessive 
terror, albeit the situation was not a particularly desirable one. A 
college boy, in these enlightened days, laughs at supernatural tales 
as the delusions of ignorance in ages past ; but for those who have 
had the misfortune to bo imbued in infancy with superstition, as 
was Charles Channing, the terror exists still, college boys though 
they may be. He could not have told (had he been collected 
enough to tell anything) what his precise dread was, as he flew 
through the cloisters. None can, at these moments. A sort of 
bugbear rises up in the mind, and thev shrink from it, thoug?j the/ 

X 3 



808 THE CHANNINGS. 

Bee not what its exact nature may be ; but it is a bugbear that can 
neither be faced nor borne. 

Feeling like one about to die ; feeling as if death, in that awful 
moment, might be a boon, rather than the contrary, Charles sped 
down the east quadrangle, and turned into the north. At the 
extremity of the north side, forming the angle between it and the 
West, commenced the narrow passage similar to the one he had 
just traversed, which led to the west gate of egress. A faint glim- 
mering of the white flagged stones beyond this gate, gave a promise 
that it was open. A half-uttered sound of thankfulness escaped 
him, and he sped on. 

Ah ! but what was that? What was it that he came upon in the 
middle of the north quadrangle, standing within the niches ? A 
towering white form, with a ghastly face, telling of the dead ; a 
mysterious, supernatural-looking blue flame, lighting it up round 
about. It came out of the niche, and advanced slowly upon him. 
An awful cry escaped from his heart, and went ringing up to tlie 
roof of the cloisters. Oh ! that the good dean, sitting in his 
deanery contiguous to the chapter-house, could have heard that 
helpless cry of anguish ! — that Dr. Burrow^s, nearer still, could 
have heard it, and burst forth into the cloisters with the succour of 
his presence ! No, no ; there could be no succour for a place that 
was supposed to be empty and closed. 

Back to the locked gate — with perhaps the apparition following 
him ? or forward po.s^ it to the open door of egress ? AVhich was 
it to be .? In these moments there can be no reason to guide the 
course ; but there is instinct ; and instinct took that ill-fated child 
to the open door. 

How he got past the sight, it is impossible to tell. Had it been 
right in front of his path, he never would have got past it. But it 
had made a halt when just beyond the niche, not coming out very far. 
With his poor hands stretched out, and his breath leaving him, 
Charles did get by, and made for the door, the ghost bringing up 
the rear with a yell, while those old cloister-niches, when he was 
fairly gone, grew alive with moving figures, which came out of 
their dark corners, and shrieked aloud with laughter. 

Away, he knew not whither— away, like one who is being pur- 
sued by an unearthly phantom — deep catchings of the breath, as 
will follow undue bodily exertion, telling of something not right 
within ; wild, low, abnipt sounds breaking from him at intervals — 
thus he flew, turning to the left, which took him towards the river. 
Anywhere from the dreaded cloisters : anywhere from the old, grey, 



THE CHANNINQS. 309 



ghostly edifice ; anywhere in his dread and agony. He dashed past 
the boat-house, down the steps, tiirning on to the river pathway, 

and 

Whether the light, hanging at the boat-house, deceived his sight 
— whether the slippery mud caused him to lose his footing — 
whether he was running too quickly and could not stop himself in 
time — or whether, in his irrepressible fear, he threw himself uncon- 
sciously in, to escape what might be behind him, will never be 
known. Certain it is, the unhappy boy went, plunge, into the river, 
another and a last wild cry escaping him as the waters closed over 
his head. 



CHAPTEE XL. 

MR. ketch's evening VISIT. 



It were surely a breach of politeness on our part not to attend 
Mr. Ketch in his impromptu evening visit ! He shufiSed along at 
Ihe very top of his speed, his mouth watering all the way, while the 
delicious odour of the tripe and onions appeared to be borne on the 
air to his olfactory nerves : so powerful is the force of fancy. 
Arrived at his destination, he found the shop closed. It was Mrs. 
Jenkins' custom to close at seven from October to April, inclusive ; 
and the shutters had now just been put up. Mr. Ketch seized the 
knocker on the shop-door— there was no other entrance to the 
house — and brought it down with a force that shook the first-floor 
sitting-room, and startled Mr. Harper, the lay clerk, nearly out of 
liis arm-chair, as he sat before the fire. Mrs. Jenkins's maid, a 
young person of seventeen, very much given to blacking her face, 
opened it. 

' Be I in time ?' demanded Ketch, his voice all in a shake. 

' In time for what ?' responded the girl. 

* Why, for supper,' said Ketch, penetrating into the shop, which 
was lighted by a candle that stood on the counter, the one the girl 
had brought in her hand. 'Is old Jenkins the bedesman come 
yet?' 

' Old Jenkins ain't here,' said she. ' You had better go into the 
parlour, if you be come to supper.' 

Ketch went down the shop, sniffing curiously. Sharp as fancy 
is, he could not say that his nose was yet regaled with the scent of 
the onions, but he supposed the saucepan lid might be on. For, as 
was known to Mr. Ketch, and to other of the initiated in tripe 



310 TH2 CHANNINGS. 

mysteries, it was generally deemed advisable, by good housewives, 
to give the tripe a boil up at home, lest it should have got cold in 
its transit from the vendor's. The girl threw open the door of tho 
small parlour, and told him he might sit down if he liked ; she did 
not overburden the gentleman with civility. ' Missis '11 be here 
soon,' said she. 

Ketch entered the parlour, and sat down. There was a fire in 
the grate, but no light, and there were not, so far as Ketch could 
see, any preparations yet for the entertainment. They be a going 
to have it downstairs in the kitchen,' soliloquised he. ' And that's 
a sight more comfortabler. She's gone out to fetch it, I shouldn't 
wonder!' he continued, alluding to Mrs. Jenkins, and sniflBng 
again strongly, but obtaining no result. ' That's right ! she wont 
let 'em serve her with short onions, she won't; she have got a 
tongue of her own. I wonder how much beer there'll be !' 

He sat on pretty patiently, for him, about half an hour, sniffing 
incessantly, and then he took the liberty of replenishing the fire 
from a coal-box that stood there. Another quarter of an hour was 
passed much more impatiently, when Ketch began to grow uneasy 
and lose himself in all sorts of grave conjectm'es. Could she have 
arrived too late at the tripe-shop, and found the tripe all sold, and so 
had stopped out to supper somewhere herself? Such a thing as a 
run on the delicacy had occurred more than once, to Ketch's certain 
knowledge, and tardy customers had been sent away disappointed, to 
wait in longing anticipations for the next tripe night. He went 
into a cold perspiration at the bare idea ; almost like another had 
done that night in the cloisters, in his terrible agony. And where 
was old Jenkins, all this time, that he had not come ? And where 
was Joe ? A pretty thing to invite a gentleman out to a hasty 
supper, and serve him in this way ! What could they mean by it ? 

He groped his way round the corner of the shop to where lay the 
kitchen stairs, whose position he pretty well knew, and called 
do-wnthem: — 'Here, Sally, Betty — whatever your name is — ain't 
there nobody at home ?' 

The girl heard, and came forth, the same candle in her hand. 
* Who be you calling to, I'd like to know ? My name's Lidyar, if 
you please.' 

*■ Where's your missis ?' responded Ketch, suffering the matter 
of the name to drop into abeyance. ' Is she gone out for the tripe ?* 

' Gone out for what tripe ?' asked the girl. * What be you talk* 
Liig of?* 

* Tho tripe for supper,' said Ketch. 



THB OHANNINQS. 811 

* There aiu't no tripe for supper,' replied she. 

* There is tripe for supper/ persisted Ketch. *And mo and oK 
Jenkins is going to have some of it. There's tripe and onions.' 

The girl shook her head. 'I dun know nothing about it. Missig 
is up stairs, a fixing the mustard.' 

Oh come ! this gave a promise of something. Old Ketch thought 
mustard the greatest condiment that tripe could be accompanied 
by, in conjunction with onions. But she must have been a long 
while 'fixing' the mustard; whatever that miglit mean. And 
where was the tripe? His spirits dropped again, and he grew 
rather exasperated. * Go up and ask your missis how long I be to 
wait ?' he growled. ' I was told to come here at seven for supper, 
and now it's a'most eight.' 

The girl, feeling possibly a little curiosity herself, came up with 
her candle. ' Master ain't so well to-night,' remarked she. * He's 
gone to bed, and missis is a putting him a plaster on his cliest.' 

The words fell on old Ketch like ice. 'A mustard-plaster?' 
shrieked he. 

' What else but a mustard-plaster !' she retorted. * Did you think 
it was a pitch? There's a fire lighted up yonder in his room grate, 
and she's a making of it there.' 

Nothing more sure. Poor Jenkins, who had coughed more than 
usual the last two days, perhaps from the wet weather, and whose 
chest in consequence was very painful, had been ordered to bed 
this night by his wife when tea was over ; going up herself, as 
soon as her shop was shut, to administer a mustard-plaster. Ketch 
was quite stunned with uncertainty. A man in bed, with a plaster 
to his chest, was not likely to invite company to supper. 

Before ho had seen his way out of the shock, or the girl had 
done staring at him, Mrs. Jenkins descended the stairs and joined 
them, having been attracted by the noise. She had slipped on an 
old buff dressing-gOAvn over her clothes, in her capacity of nurse, 
and looked rather in dishabille ; certainly not like a lady who is 
about to give an entertainment. 

* He says he's come to supper : tripe and onions,' said the girl, 
introducing Mr. Ketch and the subject unceremoniously to her 
wondering mistress. 

Mrs. Jenkins, not much more famous for meekness in expressing 
her opinions than was Ketch, turned her gaze upon that gentle- 
man. ' What do you say you have come for ?' asked she. 

' "Why, I have come for supper, that's what I have come for,' 
shrieked Ketch, all in a tremble. * Jenkins invited me to supper, 



312 THi CHANNIXGS. 

Afif tripe and onions, and I'd like to know what it all means, and 
where the supper is/ 

'You are going into your dotage,' said Mrs. Jenkins, with an 
amount of scorn so gi-eat that it exasperated Ketch as much as the 
words themselves. 'You'll be wanting a lunatic asylum next. 
Tripe and onions ! If Jenkins was to hint at such a thing as a 
plate of tripe coming inside my house, I'd tripe him. There's no- 
thing I have such a hatred to as tripe ; and he knows it.' 

' Is this the way to treat a man ?' foamed Ketch, his disappoint- 
ment and his hunger driving him nearly into the state hinted at by 
Mrs. Jenkins. ' Joe Jenkins takes and sends me down a note a 
hour ago, to come here to supper with his old father, which it 
was to be tripe and onions ! It is tripe night !' continued he, rather 
wandering from the point of argument, as the tears filled his eyes. 
' You can't deny as it's tripe night.' 

'Here, Lydia, open the door and let him out,' cried Mrs. Jenkins, 
waving her hand imperatively towards it. ' And what have you 
been at with your face again?' continued she, as the candle held 
by that damsel, reflected its light aloft. ' One can't see it for colly ! 
if I do put you into that mask I have threatened, you won't like it, 
girl. Hold your tongue, old Ketch, or I'll call Mr. Harper down 
to you. Write a note ! What else ? He has wrote no note ; ho 
has been too suffering the last few hours to think of notes, or of 
you either. You are a lunatic, it's my belief.' 

' I shall be drove one,' sobbed Ketch. ' I was promised a treat of 
tripe and onions ' 

'Is that door open, Lydia? There! Take yourself and your 
tripe and onions off. My goodness, me ! disturbing my house with 
such a crazy errand 1' And, taking old Ketch by the shoulders, 
who was rather feeble and tottery, from his lumbago and his age, 
Mrs. Jenkins politely marshalled him outside, and closed the door 
upon him. 

' Insolent old fellow !' she exclaimed to her husband, to whom 
she went at once and related the occurrence. 'I wonder what 
he'll pretend he has next from you ? A note of invitation, in- 
deed!' 

'My dear,' said Jenkins, revolving the news, and speaking as 
well as his sore chest would allow him, ' it must have been a trick 
played him by the young college gentlemen. We should not be too 
hard upon the poor old man. He's not very agreeable or pleasant- 
tempered, I'm afraid it must be allowed ; but — I'd not have sent 
him away without a bit of supper, my dear.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 313 

♦ I daresay you'd not,' retorted Mrs. Jenkins. * All the world 
knows you are soft enough for anything. I have sent him away 
witk a flea in his ear ; that's what I have done.' 

Mr. Ketch had at length come to the same conclusion — that 
the invitation must be the work of the college gentlemen. 
Only fancy the unhappy man, standing outside IVIrs. Jenkins's in- 
hospitable door ! Deceived, betrayed, fainting for his supper, done 
out of the delicious tripe and onions, done out even of his own 
bread and cheese, and, so to say, of his beer, for that was gone, ho 
leaned against the shutters, and gave vent to a prolonged and 
piteous howl. It might have drawn tears from a stone. 

In a frame of mind that was not enviable, ho turned his steps 
homeward, clasping his hands upon his empty, ill-treated stomach, 
and vowing the most intense vengeance upon the college boys. 
Tlie occurrence naturally caused him to cast back his thoughts to 
the other trick — the locking him in the cloisters, in which Jenkins 
had been a fellow-victim — and he doubled his fists in impotent 
anger. * This comes of their not having been flogged for that !' ho 
groaned. 

Engaged in these reflections of gall and bitterness, old Ketch 
gained his lodge, unlocked it, and entered. No wonder that ho 
turned his eyes upon the cloister keys, the reminiscence being so 
strong within him. 

But, to say he turned his eyes upon the cloister keys, is but a 
figure of speech. No keys were there. Ketch stood like a trans- 
fixed statue, and stared as hard as the flickering blaze from his 
dying fire would allow him. Seizing a match-box, he struck a 
light and held it to the hook. Tho keys were not there. 

Ketch was no conjuror, and it never occurred to him to suspect 
tliat the keys had been removed before his own departure. ' How 
liad them wicked ones got in?' he foamed. 'Had they forced his 
winder? — had they took a skeleton key to his door? — had they 
come down the chimbley ? They was capable of all three exploits ; 
and the more soot they collected about 'em in the descent, the 
better they'd like it. He didn't think they'd mind a little fire. It 
was tliat insolent By water ! — or that young villain, Tod Yorke ! — 
or that undaunted Tom Channing ! —or perhaps the three leagued 
together ! Nothing wouldn't tame them' 

He examined the window; ho examined the door; he cast a 
glance up the chimney. Nothing, however, appeared to have been 
touched or disturbed, and there was no soot on the floor. Cutting 
off a piece of bread and cheese, groaning at it for its dryness, and 



314 THE OHANNINGS. 

eatfn^i,' it as be went, he proceeded out again, locking up his lodge 
as before. 

Of course he bent his steps to the cloisters, going to the west 
gate. And there, perhaps to his surprise, perhaps not, he found 
the gate locked, just as he might have left it himself that very 
evening, and the keys hanging ingeniously, by means of the string, 
from one of the studded nails, right over the keyhole. 

' There ain't a boy in the school but what'U come to be hung !' 
danced old Ketch in his rage. 

Ho would have preferred not to find the keys ; but to go to the 
head-master with a story of their loss — their theft. It was possible, 
it was just possible that, going, keys in hand, the master might 
refuse to give credence to his tale. 

Away he hobbled, and arrived at the house of the head-master. 
Check the first ! — The master was not at home. He had gone to 
a dinner-party. The other masters lived at a distance, and Ketch's 
old legs were aching. What was he to do ? Make his complaint 
to somebody, he was determined upon. The new senior, Huntley, 
lived too far off for his lumbago ; so he tunied his steps to the 
next senior's, Tom Channing, and demanded to see him. 

Tom heard the story, which was given him in detail. He told 
Ketch— and with truth— that he knew nothing about it, but would 
make inquiries in the morning. Ketch was fain to depart, and 
Tom returned to the sitting-room, and threw himself in a chair in 
a burst of laughter. 

* What is the matter ? ' they asked. 

* The primest lark,' returned Tom. * Some of the fellows have 
been sending Ketch an invitation to sup at Jenkins's off tripe and 
onions, and when he got there he found it was a hoax, and Mrs. 
Jenkins turned him out again. That's what Master Charley must 
have gone after.' 

Hamish turned round. ' Where is Charley, by the way ?' 

' Gone after it, there's no doubt,' replied Tom. ' Here's his 

exercise, not finished yet, and liis pen left inside the book. Oh 

yos; that's where he has gone !' 



THE CHANNIKGB, 815 



CHAPTER XLl, 

THE SEAECH. 

• Tom, where is Charles ?* 

* He is not in ray pocket,' rcsporidecl Tom Channing, who was 
buried deep in his studies, as he had been for some hours. 

* Thomas, that is not the proper way to answer me,' resumed 
Constance, in a tone of seriousness, for it was fromlier the question 
had proceeded. ' It is strange he should run suddenly out in the 
abrupt way you describe, and remain so long as this. It is half- 
past nine ! I am waiting to read.' 

'The boys are up to some trick to-night with Mr. Calcraft, 
Constance, and he is one of them,' said Tom. * He is sure to be in 
soon.' 

Constance remained silent ; not satisfied. A nameless, undefined 
sort of dread was creeping over her. Engaged with Annabel until 
eight o'clock, when she returned to the general sitting-room, she 
found Charles absent, much to her surprise. Expecting him to 
make his appearance every moment, the time may have seemed to 
her long, and his absence all the more unaccountable. It had now 
gone on to half-past nine, and still he was not come, and his lessons 
were not done. It was his hour for bed-time. 

Tom had more than usual to do that night, and it was nearly ten 
when he rose from his books. Constance watched him put them 
aside, and stretch himself. Then she spoke : — 

'Torn, you must go and find Charles. I begin to feel uneasy. 
Something must have happened, to keep him out like this.' 

The feeling ' uneasy ' rather amused Tom. Precisions of evil 
are not apt to torment school^boys. * I expect the worst that has 
happened may be a battle royal with old Ketch,' said he. 'flow- 
ever, the young monkey had no business to cut short his lessons 
in the midst, and go off in this way, so I'll just be after him and 
march him home.' 

Tom took his trencher and flew towards the cathedral, lie 
fully cxpect<jd the boys would bo gathered somewhere round it, 
not a hundred miles from old Ketch's lodge. But he could not 
oomc upon them anywhere. The lodge was closed, was dark and 
Bilent, showing every probability that its master had retire for 



810 THE CHANNINGP. 

the niglit to sleep away his discomfiture ; tLe cloisters were closed, 
and the Boundaries lay calm in the moonlight, undisturbed by a 
single footstep. There was no sign of Charles, or of any other 
college boy. 

Tom halted in indecision. 'Where can he have gone to, 1 
wonder? I'm sure I don't know where to look for him! I'll ask 
at Yorke's ! If there's any mischief up, Tod's sure to know of it.' 

lie crossed the Boundaries, and rang at Lady Augusta's door. 
Tod himself opened it. Probably he thought it might be one of his 
friends, the conspirators; certainly he had not expected to find 
Tom Channing there, and he looked inclined to run away again. 

' Tod Yorke, do you know anything of Charles?' 

* Law ! how should I know anything of him ?' returned Tod, 
taking courage, and putting a bold face upon it. * Is he lost ?' 

'He is not lost, I suppose; but ho has disappeared somewhere. 
Were you in the game with old Ketch, to-night ?' 

'What game?' inquired Tod, innocently. 

But at this moment Gerald, hearing Tom's voice, came out of the 
sitting-room. Gerald Yorke had a little cooled down from his re- 
sentment against Tom. Since the decision of the previous day, 
nearly all Gerald's wrath had been turned upon Mr. Pye, because 
that gentleman had not exalted him to the seniorship. So great 
was it, that he had no room to think of Tom : besides, Tom was a 
I'ollow-sufifercr, and had been passed over equally with himself. 

' What's the row?' asked Gerald. 

Tom explained, stating what he had heard from Ketch of the 
trick the boys had played him; and Charley's absence. Gerald, 
who really was not cognisant of it in any way, listened with avidity, 
making his own comments, and enjoying beyond everything the ac- 
count of Ketch's fast in the supper department. Both he and Tom 
exploded with mirth ; and Tod, who said nothing, but listened with 
his hands in his pockets, dancing first on one leg, then on the other, 
nearly laughed himself into fits. 

What did they take out the cloister keys for?' demanded 
Gerald. 

' Who's to know .?' said Tom. ' I thought Tod was sure to be in 
it.' 

* Don't I wish I had been !' responded that gentleman, turning up 
the whites of his eyes to give earnestness to the wish. 

Gerald looked round at Tod, a faint suspicion stealing over him 
that the denial was less genuine than it appeared. In point of fact, 
Mr. Tod's had been the identical trencher, spoken of as having 



THE CHANNINGS 817 

watclied tlio effect of the message upon old Kctcb. * 1 say, Tod, 
you were off somewhere to-night for about two hours,' paid Gerald. 
* I'll declare you were.' 

'I know I was,' said Tod, readily. '1 had an appointment with 
Mark Galloway, and I went to keep it. If you skinned me alive, 
Channing, I couldn't tell where Miss Charley is, or where he's likely 
to be.' 

True enough in the abstract. Tom Channing stopped talking a 
short while longer, and then ran home. ' Is Charley in yet ?' was 
his first question. 

No, Charley was not in ; and the household now became seriously 
concerned. It was past ten. By his leaving his lessons half done, 
and his pen inside his exercise-book — of which exercise he had not 
left many words to complete ; but he had other studies to do— it 
was evident to them that he had not gone out intending to stay. In- 
deed, if he required to go out in an evening, he always asked leave, 
and mentioned where he was going. 

'Haven't you found him?' exclaimed Judith, coming forward as 
Tom entered. * Where in the world can the child be ?' 

' Oh, he's safe somewhere,' said Tom. * Don't worry your old 
head, Judy.' 

'It's fit that somebody should worry their heads,' retorted Judith 
sharply to Tom. ' He never stopped out like this afore — never I 
Pray Heaven there's no harm come anigh him !' 

' Well done, Judy !' was Tom's answer. * Harm ! What harm 
is likely to have come to him ? Helstonleigh has not been shaken 
by an earthquake to-night, to swallow him up ; and I don't suppose 
any voracious kite has descended from the skies and carried him 
off in her talons. You'll make a simpleton of that boy till he's 
twenty !' 

Judith — who, truth to say, did look very much after Charley, 
love him and indulge him — wasted no more words on infidel Tom, 
but went straight up to Hamish's room, and knocked at the door. 
Hamish was in it, at his writing-table as usual, and Judith heard a 
drawer opened and shut before he came to her. 

'Mr. Hamish, it's very queer about the child!' said Judith. 'I 
don't half like it.' 

' What ! Is he not come in ?' 

' Xo, he's not. And, just to look how he has left his books and 
bis lessons about, is enough to prove that something or other must 
have kept him. I declare my heart's all in a quake ! Master I'om, 
he has been out, and can't find no traces of him— though it's hard 



318 THE CnANNINGS. 

to tell whether he troubled himself to look much. Boys be as care- 
less one of another as so many young animals.' 

* I will come down directly, Judith.' 

He shut the door, right in front of Judith's inquisitive nose, which 
was peering in to see what there might be to see. Judith's curiosity, 
in reference to her young masters night employment, had in- 
creased rather than abated. Every night, night after night, as 
Ilamisli came home with the account books of the office under his 
arm, and carried them straight to his bed-room, Judith watched 
him go up with jealous eyes. Constance also watched him : watched 
him in a far more imeasy frame of mind than could be Judith's. 
The bringing home those books now, in Mr. Channing's absence, 
was only too plain a proof to Constance that his night work must 
be connected with them : and a perfectly sick feeling would rush 
over her heart. Surely there could be nothing amiss with the ac- 
counts ? 

Hamish shut the door, shutting out Judy. She heard him putting 
things away : she heard a lock turned, and the keys removed. Then 
he came forth, and went down with Judith. 

The difficulty was, where to look for Charles ? It was possible 
that he might have gone to the houses of any one of the schoolboys, 
and be there staying : if not very likely, still it was by no means 
impossible. Tom was despatched to Mr. Pye's, who had some half 
dozen of the king's scholars boarding in his house ; and thence to 
other houses in the vicinity. All ^vith the like result ; all denied 
knowledge of Charles. The college bell struck eleven, the sound 
booming out in the silence of the night on their listening ears ; and 
with that sound, Hamish grew alarmed. 

They went out different ways : Hamish, Arthur, Tom, and Judith. 
Sarah was excessively anxious to make one of the searching party, 
but Judith imperatively ordered her to stop at home and mind her 
own business. Judy ran round and about the college, like anybody 
wild ; nothing extra on her shoulders, and the border of her mob- 
cap flying. But the old red walls were high and impenetrable, and 
silent; telling nothing of Charles Channing. She stopped at the 
low wall, extending from the side of the boat-house to some of the 
prebendal residences, and glanced over at the river. The water 
was flowing tranquilly along between its banks, giving out no siga 
that a young child was drowning, or had been drowned there not 
many hours before. ' No,' said Judy to herself, rejecting the doubt, 
which had come over her as improbable, * he can't have got in there. 
We should have heard of it' 



4 



THE CHANNINGS. 319 

Slio turned, and took a survey around. She did not know wliat to 
do, or where to look. Still, cold, shadowy it all lay ; the cathedral, 
the old houses, and the elm trees with their birds, at rest now. 
' Where can ho have got to ?' exclaimed Judith^ with a touch of 
temper. 

One thing was certain, that it was of no use to wait where sho 
was, and Judith betook herself home again. Just past the house 
of Lady Augusta Yorke sho encountered the head-master, who was 
walking towards his home. Ho said ' Good night ' to Judith, as he 
passed her ; but she arrested him. 

* Wo are in a fine way, sir ! We can't find Master Charles.' 

* Not find Master Charles T repeated the Eev. Mr. Pye. * How 
do you mean ?' 

' Why, it happened in this way, sir,' said Judith. * He was at his 
lessons, as usual, with Master Tom, and he suddenly gets up and 
leaves them, and goes out, without saying a word to nobody. 
That was at seven, or a bit later ; and he has never come in again.' 

' He must be staying somewhere,' remarked Mr. Pye. 

' So we all thought, sir, till it got late. He's not likely to be 
staying anywhere now. AVho'd keep him till this hour, a temfying 
of us all into fits ? Ketch ' 

'Holloa, Judy! Any luck?' 

Tlie interruption came from Tom Channing. He had discerned 
Judy's cap from the other side of the Boundaries, and now came 
running across, unconscious that her companion was the head- 
master. Judy went on with her communication. 

' Ketch, the porter, came to Master Tom an hour or two ago, 
complaining that the college boys had been serving him a trick to- 
night. They had pretended to invite him out somewhere to 
supper, and stole his cloister keys while he was gone. Now, sir, 
I'd not like to say too much against that surly-tempered brown 
bear,' went on Judy, 'but if he has got anything to do with the 
keeping the child out, he ought to be punished.' 

Tom was up now, saw it was the master, and touched hLs 
trencher. 

* Have you found your brother ?' asked the master. 

' No, sir. It is very strange where he can have got to.' 
'What trick have the boys been playing Ketch to-night?' re- 
sumed Mr. Pye. ' Your servant tells mo that he has been round to 
you with a complaint of them.' 

Tom went into a white heat. Judy ought to have kept lier 
mouth shut. It was not his place to inform against tho school, 



320 THE CHANX1NG8. 

privately, to the master. 'Y— es,' he hesitatingly said, for az 
untruth he would not tell. 

'What was the complaint?' continued Mr. Pye. 'Could this 
disappearance of your brother's be connected with it ?' 

'No, sir, I don't see that it could,' replied Tom. 

' You " don't see !" Perhaps you'll let me see, and judge. AVhat 
nad the boys been doing, Channing?' firmly spoke the master^ 
i.»erceiving his hesitation ; ' I insiat upon knowuig.' 

Tom was at his wits' ends. He might not defy the master, on 
the one hand ; on the other, he knew the school would send him 
:o Coventry for ever and a day, if he spoke ; as he himself would 
have sent any other boy, in it, doing the like. He heartily wished 
Judy had been over in Asia before she had spoken of it, and her 
tongue with her. 

' Were you in the affair yourself, pray?' asked the master. 

* No, sir, indeed I was not ; and I do not know a single boy who 
was. I have heard nothing of it, except from Ketch.* 

' Then what is your objection to tell me ?' 

' Well, sir, you know the rules we hold amongst ourselves,' said 
Tom, blurting out the truth, in his desperation. ' I scarcely dare 
tell you.' 

'Yes, you dare, Channing, when I command you to do so,' was 
the significant answer. 

Tom had no resource; and, very unwillingly, Ketch's details 
were drawn from him, bit by bit : the pseudo-invitation, the disap- 
pointment touching the tripe and onions, the missing the cloister 
keys when he got home, and the finding them upon the outside of 
the west door. 

' Did he enter the cloisters and examine them ?' said the master, 
speaking hastily. A phase of probability had struck him, whicli 
had not struck any of the Channings ; and it was curious that it 
had not. 

*I think not, sir,' replied Tom. 

' Then, that's where Charles is, ocKca up in the cloisters !' said 
the master, the recollection of the former locking-up no doubt 
helping him to the conclusion. ' The fact of the keys being left 
hanging outside the cloister door might have been sufficient io 
direct your suspicions.' 

Tom felt the force of the words ; and was wondering how it was 
he had not thought of it, when a cry burst from Judith. 

* If he is there, he never will come out alive ! Oh, sir, what wiU 
become of us ?' 



THE CUANNINGS. Jl:i 

TLo master was surijrised. He knew it was not a desirable 
situation for any young boy; but 'never come out alive' Avcro 
strong terms. Judy explained them. She poured into the master's 
ears the unhappy story of Charles having been frightened in child- 
hood ; of his propensity still to supernatural fears. 

'Make haste round! wo must get the cloisters open imme- 
diately !' exclaimed the master, as all the full truth, of the dread 
imparted by Judith, became clear to him. ' Channing, you have 
light heels ; run on, and knock up Ketch.' 

Tom tore off; never a lighter pair of heels, than his, to-night; 
and the master and the old servant followed. The master's sym- 
pathies, nay, his lively fears, were strongly awakened, and he could 
not leave the afifiiir in this stage, late though the horn- was. 

They arrived, to find Tom pummelling at Ketch's door. But to 
pummel was one thing, and to arouse Mr. Ketch, another. Mr. 
Ketch chose to remain deaf. 'I'll try the window,' said Tom. 
'He must hear ; his bed is close at hand.' 

He knocked sharply at the window ; and it at length elicited an 
answer from the drowsy gentleman, comiDosed entirely of growls 
and abusive words. 

'Get up!' called out Tom. 'The keys of the cloisters are 
wanted.' 

' Then they may be wanted !' responded old Ketch, in a muffled 
tone, as if he were speaking from the bed-clothes. * I'll see you all 
furder afore you gets the keys from me.' 

' Ketch, produce the keys this instant !' interposed the master. 
' You know my voice ; the Eev. Mr. Pye's. How dare you ? 

' ril " dare " you all, if you don't go away!' raved old Ketch, 
mistaking, or pretending to mistake, the disturbers, for his enemies, 
the college boys. ' It's a second edition of the trick you played mo 
this evening, is it .? I hope the days 11 come when your stomachs '11 
be a starving for tripe and onions, I do. I'll go to the dean with 
the first blessed glimmer o' daylight ' 

'Ketch, I am the head-master. I am come for the cloister keys. 
There's a poor boy locked in the cloisters !' 

'Is there? Praise be gived up for that! I wouldn't unlock 
him for a mint o' diaments. If you don't be ofi', I'll call the 
pcrlice.' 

'Fire ! fire !' shouted Judy, in a shrill tone, putting her mouth 
to the keyhole ; for she despaired of gaining over Ketch by any 
other means. ' What a idiot you be, old Ketch ! Do you waut to 
be bm-nt up alive ?' 

Y 



822 THE CHANNINGS. 

' Fire !' shouted Tom, in stentorian tones. ' Fire ! fire 1' And 
Ketch, wh^.ther he was really alarmed, or whether he recognized 
the head-master's yoice, and deemed it imprudent to hold out 
longer, bundled out of bed, opened the door, and appeared before 
them in his night attire, which was more airy than elegant. 
Another minute, and impetuous Tom would have burst tho 
trindow in. 

' Beg pardon, said Ketch, ungraciously, to the master. * Them 
boys plays me up such tricks, that I'm always a thinking of 'em. 
Where's the fire ?' 

' I don't think it's anywhere,' said the master. ' The cloister 
keys, Ketch : and make haste. Which of the boys played you that 
trick to-night ?' 

Ketch gave a yell, for the point was a sore one. * I never set 
eyes on one of 'em ! They be too cunning for me.' 

'Was my brother Charles one?' asked Tom, while Mr. Pyo 
hastened away with the cloister keys. 

* I tell ye I never see'd one ! Can't you believe ?' Tom did 
believe, and went after the master and Judy. 

They entered the cloisters, and shouted out for Charles. Nothing 
answered them but the echoes. To see whether he was there, was 
impossible. Judy thought he might be lying somewhere, insensible 
from fright, and she ran up and down feeling into niches, like one 
demented. Mr. Pye sent Tom back to old Ketch's to get a light, 
which was not supplied him without difficulty. 

He was turning away with it, when Hamish came up. Hamisli 
had been with all speed to Mr. Huntley's, to question Hany, as 
senior of the school, whether he knew what the trick of the night 
had been, and what boys were in it. Harry, however, who was in 
bed, assured Hamish of his entire ignorance. But for Mr. Huntley's 
veto, he would have got up and gone out to join in the search, and 
enjoyed it amazingly. 

They carried the candle to every nook and corner of the cloisters, 
no result arising from it. Hamish and Tom got over and searched 
the burial-ground. He was not there. No signs, for their keen 
eyes, or for any others, remained of the night's work : the college 
boys were cautious. A couple of matches, half-burnt, lay on the 
ground in the north quadrangle, but they told nothing. The boys 
were often lighting matches, as the master knew. 

' I really think you must be mistaken in supposing Charles's 
absence has to do with this trick played to old Ketch — whatever it 
may have been,' he observed. * It does not appear that the boys 






i 



THE CHANNINGS. 323 

have been in the cloisters. Had any of tlicm been locked in here, 
here they would be still.' 

There was no denying it, and they quitted the cloisters and closed 
them. The keys were conveyed to Ketch, who had to get out of 
bed again to receive them, which he did with a great amount of 
wrath. Mr. Pye thought it would be proved that Charles must bo 
at the house of one of the boys, carelessness or accident having 
detained him in it. And then ho wished them good night and went 
liomc. 

Completely at a nonplus were they. Hamish, ever hopeful, 
tliought Charles had perhaps returned homo : and they bent their 
steps thither. No, no; Constance, Arthur, and curious Sarah, 
were all outside the street-door, looking every way. Constance was 
too agitated to remain still in-doors. Arthur had just returned 
home. Ho had been to tho houses of some of tho college boys, 
tliose with whom Charles was most intimate, but could obtain no 
tidings of him. 

Constance burst into tears. She grew excessively alarmed, when 
Judy mentioned tho doubt lest he had been shut in tho cloisters. 
' But that fear is done away with,' said Hamish. ' We have searched 
them thoroughly. Do not distress yourself, Constance.' 

* There goes midnight !' exclaimed Judy. 

* Ugh !' shivered Sarah. * I feel just as if somebody was wall;ing 
over my grave. Miss Constance.' 

* If they were walking over you, it mightn't be amiss,' repri- 
manded Judith. ' Don't talk such stuff as that, girl, in the young 
mistress's cars.' 

The words died away into silence, and they stood listening to tho 
strokes of the dccp-toned cathedral bell. With the last, twelve, 
another day had dawned upon the world. What would it bring 
forth for them ? 
*I shall go to tlie police-station,' said Hamish. 'Constance, my 
ir, you had better not remain outside. Go in-doors.' 
[t was well to say ' Go in-doors,' but in the agitation and sus- 
pense at that n^oment overwhelming Constance, * in-doors' w£j 
not so easy to bear. Hamish strode oft*, Tom following him- 
Arthur remained with his sister, waiting and watching still. 

And so they waited and watched through the live-long night 
Hamish was at work ; the police were at work ; Tom was at \^^ork 
but neither sign nor trace could be found of Charles Chaniiins. 



Y 2 



b24 THE OHANNXNOf. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

AN OFFICIAL CEREJIOXY IXTEBRUPTED. 

A GREi dusky morning:, enveloped in fog, succeeded to tlio fine 
night. I3efore seven o'clock— so watchful and alert are boys -vvheu 
mischief is agate — most of those who had been in the conspiracy 
were assembled, and waiting round the school-room doors ; gene- 
rally, they could tear up at the twelfth moment. They would not 
have missed the sight of Charles Channing's arrival for half-a-crown 
a-piece, so curious were they to see how he looked, after his fright. 
As it happened, it was not at any of their homes that inquiries had 
been made the previous night ; not one of them was, to say, inti« 
mate with Charley : they were mostly older than he. Consequently, 
they knew nothing of the search. Tod Yorke, who did know of it, 
had not yet arrived : of all the king's scholars, none were marked 
late more frequently than Master Tod. 

The senior boy had gone to the head-master's for the keys as 
usual, and now came down the cloisters, clanking them in his hand. 
* Has Charles Channing turned up ?' he called out, before he was 
well abreast of them. 

Pierce senior choked away his inclination to laughter, which the 
sound of the name excited, and saucy Bywater answered — ' AVhere 
should he turn up from, Huntley ? Has he been swallowed.?' 

* Hamish Channing came to our house last night, ages after I was 
in bed, saying they couldn't find him,' replied Huntley. 'What 
was in the wind last night with old Calcraft ?' 

The boys looked at him demurely ; and Huntley, getting no reply, 
unlocked the school-room and entered it. They remained behind, 
winking at each other, and waiting still for Charles. It wanted yet 
> few minutes to seven. 

'1 say, what d'ye think?' whispered Bywater. 'After I had gcj 
our sheet smuggled in, all right, and was putting it on the bed, I 
found two big holes burnt in it. Won't there be a commotion when 
my old aunt finds it out ! She'll vow I have been reading in bed. 
That was you, Pierce senior !' 

* I'm sure I never burnt it,' retorted Pierce. ' It YfS£ the flaino 
did it, if anything.' 



m 



THE CHANNIliaS. 325 

'Here comes Bill Sirams!* exclaimed Bywatcr, when their 
smothered laugh was over. * What has he been doing to himself? 
He's as white as the ghost !' 

Mr. Bill Simms assuredly did look white. He had a pale face at 
the best of times, and it was embellished with straw-coloured hair. 
But at the present moment it had turned ghastly, and his frame 
Bcemed all of a shake as ho came along. 

* What on earth has taken you, Simms ?' demanded Ilurst. 

* Oh goodness!' uttered Simms, 'I wish I was well out of this I 
They are saying there's a college boy drowned !' 

' What ?' cried the boys, gathering round him. 

' There was a crowd down by the boat-house as I came along, 
responded Simms, as well as he could speak for his chattering 
teeth. ' I asked a fellow what it was, and he said he didn't rightly 
know, but he thought one of the college boys had been found 
drowned in the water.' 

Some of the gentlemen-listener's faces turned as pale as Mr. 
Bill Simms's ; as pale as each conscience. Bywatcr was the first 
to gather courage. 

' It's not obliged to be Charley Channing, if there is any ono 
dro\vTied.' 

' But it's sure to be him,' chattered Simms, his teeth as crazy as 
his grammar. * GriflQn junior says Arthur Channing went to their 
house last night at twelve, and said they couldn't find Charley.' 

The consternation into which this episode of news plunged the 
guilty ones, it is not easy to describe. A conviction that it luas 
Charles Channing, who was drowned, overtook them all. School- 
boys are not quite without hearts, and they would have given all 
they possessed, in that moment, to see Charles come flying amongst 
them, as usual. Some of them began to wish they were without 
necks ; for if Charles had come to an untimely end through their 

rk, they might stand a chance of furnishing employment to tho 
table Mr. Calcraft, on their own score. Tod Yorke camo 
leaping up in delight. 

' Oh, wasn't it good ! The young one ' 

* Hold your noise, Tod ! They are saying he's dead.' 
Who's dead ?' wondered Tod. 

'Charley Channing. A college boy is found in the river, 
owned.' 

' Oh, that be hanged !' exclaimed Tod, half in mocking disbelief, 
half in awful fear. * It can't he, you know. Who says it?' 

* There's seven ! We must go in, or Himtley will be on to us. 



326 THE CHANNINGS. 

Mind !' added Pierce senior, for he was the si3eaker, ' we must all 
keep each other's counsel, and be in one tale — that we know 
nothing at all about it.' 

They slunk into school. But that the senior boy was occupied 
with his new duty — the calling over of the roll — he might have 
observed something was wrong. To play up a bit of mischief is 
the legitimate privilege of college boys ; but to have led to a 
companion's death is a terror-striking aflair ; and their comite- 
nances betrayed that it was. 

Before the roll was finished, the head-master was in school. 
Tom Channing— it was late for him— entered afterwards. The 
master beckoned to him. 

* Is Charles found ?' 

* No, sir. We cannot get any tidings of him at all. We have 
not been to bed, any of us ; and the pohce arc searching also.* 
Had Tom Channing come from the other side of the Boundaries, 
near the boat-house, perhaps he might have been able to give a 
different account. 

The master made no comment then. lie motioned Tom to his 
desk, and gave the word for prayers. As the boys were rising 
from their knees, Hamish Channing entered the school, attended 
by Mr. Ketch. 

Hamish approached the master, who shook hands with him. 
Ketch remained snarling and grinning defiance at the door, shaking 
his fist and his old teeth covertly at the boys. If looks could 
blow up a room, the college school had certainly gone aloft then. 

' I hear you have not found the boy ?' said the master to llamisli. 
* It is very singular.' 

' We have not found him. Mr. Bye,' continued Hamish, gravely, 
' I come to demand of yom- courtesy an immediate investigation 
into the doings of the college boys last evening. That the disap- 
pearance of Charles is in some measure connected with it, wo 
cannot do otherwise than think. I have brought Ketch with me 
that he may tell his tale.' 

Ketch was marshalled forward and ordered to tell his tale, and 
the business of the school was suspended. Ketch told it in a 
distinct way enough ; but he could not forbear enlarging upon his 
cruel disappointment over the tripe and onions, and it sent the 
Bchool into convulsions. In the midst of it, Tom Channing 
breathed freely ; Ketch's preferring the complaint, tlid away with 
the unpleasantness he had feared might arise, through having 
been forced to disclose it to the master. 



THE cHANNnias. 327 

* 1 should be sorry to get displeasure visited upon the boys, 
resumed Hamish : 'indeed, I should esteem it a favour, sir, if you 
will not punish them for any disclosure that may arise through this 
step which I have taken. I dare say,' ho added, turning his 
laughing gaze upon the lot, ' that I should have been one of the 
ringleaders myself, in my school days, therefore it would not be 
fair for me to bring jjunishment upon them. I only wish to know 
which of the school were in it, that I may make inquu'ies of them 
whether Charles was one ; and, if he was, what they know of his 
movements afterwards.' 

The address was fair and candid ; so was Hamish's face ; and 
some of the conspirators, in their good feeling, might have freely 
confessed, but for the something just whispered to them by Simms. 
That closed their lips. 

'Do you hear?' said the master, speaking sharply, for he had 
rather, ten times over, that the school frankly avowed mischief, 
when brought to book : he was never half so severe. ' Why are 
you silent?' 

Bill Simms, who had the bump of conscientiousness very large, 
with a wholesome dread of consequences, besides being grievously 
timid, felt that he could not hold out long. ' Oh murder !' he 
groaned to Mark Galloway, next to whom he sat, ' let's tell, and 
have done with it.' 

Mark turned cold with fear. 'You're a pretty fellow I' ho 
uttered, giving him a tremendous Idck on the shins. ' Would you 
like us all to be tried for our lives ?' Which suggestion made 
matters worse ; and Bill Simms's hair began to stand on end. 

' Huntley, have you any cognizance of this ?' demanded Mr. Pye. 

' None, sir,' And so said the three seniors under him. 

' Boys !' said the master, bringing his cane down upon the desk 

in a manner he was accustomed to do when provoked, ' I will come 

to the bottom of this business. That several of you were in it, I 

feel sure. Is there not one of you sufficiently honest to speak, 

rhen required so to do ?' 

Certain of the boys drooped their conscious faces and their 
eyelids. As to Bill Simms, he felt fit to faint. 

♦ What have you done with Charles Channing ?' thundered the 
master. 'Where have you put him? Where is he gone? I 
command you to speak ! Let the senior of those who were in i/ 
Bpeak! or the consequences be upon your own heads.' 

The threat sounded ominous in the ears of Bill Simms : he saw 
himself, in prospective, exposed to all the horrors of a dungeon, 




?,2S THE Cn,VXXINGS. 

and to something worse. With a curious noise, something between 
a bark and a groan, he flung himself with his face on the floor, and 
lay there howh'ng. 

' Mr. Simms,' said the master, ' what has taken you ? Were you 
the chief actor in this ?' 

All considerations had disappeared from Mr. Simms's mind, save 
the moment's terror. He forgot what would be his own position in 
the school, if he told, or — as they would have expressed it — turned 
Bneak. Impelled by fear, he was hardly conscious of his words ; 
hardly responsible for them. 

* It wasn't me,' he howled. * They all know I didn't want the 
trick played upon him. I told them that it had killed a boy 
down by our farm, and it might kill Channing. They know it, 
they do.' 

The master paused. ' Walk here, Simms.' 

Simms picked himself up from the ground and walked there. 
A miserable object he looked ; his eyes red, his teeth shaking, his 
face white, and his straw hair standing on end. 

The master leaned his arms upon his desk, and brought his foco 
nearly into contact with the frightened one. 'What trick did you 
play upon Charles Channing ?' 

' 'Twasn't me, sir,' sobbed Simms. * I didn't want it done, I say. 
O-o-o-o-o-o-h ! I didn't! I didn't!' 

' What trick luas played upon him ?* 

'It was a ghost dressed up to frighten him, and he passed 
through the cloisters and saw it. It wasn't me ! I'll never speak 
again, if it was me !' 

' A ghost !' repeated the master in astonishment, while Ketch 
stretched his old neck forward, and the most intense interest was 
displayed by the school. 

* They did it with a sheet and a blue flame,' went on Simms ; 
who, now that the ice was broken, tried to make a clean breast of 
it, and grew more alarmed every moment. * It wasn't me ! I didn't 
want it done, and I never lent a hand to the dressing up. If little 
Channing is dead, it won't be fair to hang me.' 

* Who was in the plot ?' was the next question of the master. 
And Simms enumerated them. The master, stern and grim, 
beckoned to the several gentlemen to walk up, and to range them- 
selves before him. ' The lad has run some distance in his terror,' 
observed the master aside to Hamish, as he remembered what 
Judith had told him the previous night ' You will see him home 
in the course of the day.' 




THE CHANNINGS. 329 

* I trist we may !' replied Hamisli, with marked emphasis. 
Bit by bit, word by word, the master drew the whole trulh 
from the downcast lads. Pierce senior looked dogged and 
obstinate; he was inwardly vowing nnheard-of revenge against 
]\Ir. Simms. Probably most of them were doing the same. 

' I knowed it was them ! I knowed it couldn't be nobody but 
them!' broke forth old Ketch, summarily interrupting the pro- 
ceedings. ' You sees now, sir, what a incorrigible ' 

' Silence !' said the master, raising his hand. * I can deal with 
this without your assistance, Ketch. Ilurst, who concocted this 
infamous plot ?' 

Hurst — wlio was the senior of the conspirators, with regard to 
his position in the school, though not so old as Pierce senior — 
could not answer it definitively. It was concocted between them, 
he said ; not by one more than by another. 

' Did you not know that a trick, such as this, has deprived men 
of reason?' continued the master. 'And you play it upon a 
young and defenceless boy ! I am at a loss how to express my 
sense of your conduct. If any ill shall have happened to him 
through it, you will carry it on your consciences for ever.' 

Eemembering what they had just heard, the boys' consciences 
had begun to twitch already. 
' Who personated the ghost ?' continued the master. 
* Pierce senior.' The answer came from Simms. The others 
would not have given it. 

'I might have guessed that,' was the remark of the master, 
who had no great love for the gentleman named. ' I might have 
known that if there was a boy in the college school who would 
delight to put himself forward to trample on one younger and 
more sensitive than himself, it would be Pierce senior. I'll give 
jyou something to remember this work, Mr. Pierce. Yorke !' 

Gerald Yorke knew what he was called for. He vras the tallest 
■and strongest of all. The school knew ; and a murmur of excite- 
ment went round. Pierce senior was going to be hoisted. 

Only in very flagrant cases was the extreme punishment of 
flogging resorted to by the present master. It had been more 
common with his predecessor. Of course its rarity made it all 
the more impressive when it did come. 

'Make ready,' said the master to Pierce senior, unlocking his 
desk, and taking out a birch as big as a whole besom. 

Pierce turned green and white, without help from any blue 
flame, and slowly began to obey. There might be no resistauoo. 



330 THE CHANMNGS. 

The school hushed itself into suspense, and Mr. Ketch's legs were 
on the point of taking a dance of ecstacy. A minute or two, and 
the group formed the centre of the upper part of the room ; Yorko 
supporting the great boy whose back was bared, while the daunted 
faces and eager eyes were strained eagerly from around. The 
head-master took his place, and his birch was raised in the air to 
come down with a heavy stroke, when a commotion was heard at 
one of the desks, and Stephen By water rushed forward. 

* Stop, sir !' he said to the master. ' If you will let Pierce go 
I will take the punishment.' 

The master's arm with its weapon of war dropped powerless by 
his side, and he turned his astonished gaze upon Bywater. 

* I had more to do with planning the trick than Pierce had, sir, 
so it's only just that I should be the scapegoat. We fixed upon 
Pierce to personate the ghost because he was tall and lanky. And 
a flogging is not much to my skin,' added honest, impudent 
Bywater. 

*So you were the planner of it, were you, !Mr. Bywater?' de- 
manded the angry master. 

* In a great measure I was, sir. If I do go in for mischief, it 
shall not be said I let others suffer for it. Little Channing had 
offended me, and I wished to serve him out. But I never thought 
to do him harm.' 

In the perplexity of deciding what he ought to do, when oflBcial 
proceedings were interrupted in this unprecedented way, the 
master hesitated. What he would have done is uncertain — flogged 
Pierce first and Bywater afterwards, perhaps — but at that moment 
there occurred another interruption, and a more serious one. 

Diggs, the man who lived at the boat-house, had entered the 
school, and was askii/g to speak to the head-master. Catching 
sight of the signs of the ceremony about to be performed, ho 
waited for no permission, but went forward at once, a college cap 
in his hand, and his voice trembling with excitement. Its excite- 
ment was not lessened when he recognized Hamish Channing. 

' I am the bearer of bad news, gentlemen,' he said, addressing 
them both. * I fear one of the young college lads was drowned 
last night by my boat-house. We have picked up his cap this 
morning. It was poor little Master Channing.' 

Hamish controlled his emotion better than did the Eev. Mr. Pye. 
The latter turned his eyes on the horrified school, himself equally 
horrified, and then signified to Pierce senior to dress himself— to 
Bywater to retire to his place. * The affair has become serious,' 



d 



THE CUANNKnGS. 331 

fao observed, 'and must be dealt with differently. Poor child i 
Poor little Chaiining !' 

And the boys, in their emotion, broke into an echoing wail— 
* Poor little Ohanning ! poor little Channing !' 



CPIAPTER XLTII. 

DRAGGING Til]-: RIVER. 

The wailing echoes of lamentation were dying out in the high rool 
of the college school. Ilamish Channing, pale, but calm and self- 
cc'.ntrolled, stood perfectly ready to investigate the account brought 
by the boat-house keeper of the drowning of Charles. The feelings 
of those who had had a hand in the work maybe imagined, perhaps, 
but certainly cannot be described. Bill Simms choked and sobbed, 
and pulled his lanky straw hair, and kicked his legs about, and was 
altogether beside himself. The under-masters looked on with stern 
countenances and lowering brows ; while old Ketch never had such 
a disappointment in all his life (the one grand disappointment of 
the previous night's supper excepted) as ho was feeling now, at tho 
putting off of the flogging. 

Diggs, tho boat-house keeper, was a widower, with ono child, a 
girl of ton years old. His mother lived with him — an aged woman, 
confined to her bed, of late, with rheumatic fever, from which she 
was slowly recovering. On the previous night Diggs was out, and 
the girl had been sent on an errand, Mrs. Diggs being left in tho 
house alone. She was lying quietly, still as was the air outside, 
when sudden sounds broke that stillness, and smote upon her ear. 
Footsteps — young steps, they seemed — w^ere heard to come tearing 
down on the outside gravel, from the direction of the cathedral, 
and descend the steps. Then there was a plunge into tho river, 
and a startling cry. 

The old woman echoed the cry ; but there were none to hear it, 
and she was powerless to aid. That a human soul was struggling 
in the water was certain ; and she called and called, but called in 
vain. She was shut up in tho house, unable to move ; and there 
were none outside to hear her. In her grief and distress she at 
length pulled the bed-clothes over her ears, that she might hear no 
more (if it was to be heard) of the death agony. 

Twenty minutes or so, and then the girl came in. The old 
woman took her head from underneath the clothes, and stated 
what jjad occurred, and the girl went and looked at the river. But 



332 THE CHANNINGS. 

it was flowing along peacefully, showing no signs of anything of tho 
sort having happened. Not a creature was on the path on either 
side, so far as her eyes could reach in the moonlight ; and she canio 
to the conclusion that her grandmother must have been mistaken 

* She do have odd fancies,' said the child to herself, * and thinks she 
hears things that nobody else never hears.' 

At ten o'clock Diggs came home. Now, this man had a propensity 
to yield to an infirmity to which many others also yield — that of 
drinking too freely. It is true this did not often occur ; but when 
it did happen, it was usually at a time when his services were es- 
pecially required. It is very much the same in this world : we are 
apt to do things, whether good ones or bad ones, just at the wrong 
moment. Diggs arrived at home, stupid. His old mother called 
him to her room, and told him what she had heard; but she could 
make little impression upon him. As his young daughter had done, 
he took a survey of the river, he taking it only from the windows of 
his house — the girl had gone on to tho bank — and then he tumbled 
into bed, and slept heavily until the morning. 

Up betimes, he remembered what had been told to him, and went 
out of doors, half expecting possibly to see some corpse floating on 
the surface. ' I was detained out last night on an errand,' explained 
he to some three or four stragglers who had gathered round him, 

* and when I got in, my old mother told me a cock-and-bull story of 
a cry and a splash, as if somebody had fell into the river. It don't 
look much like it, though.' 

'A dead dog, 'maybe,' suggested one of the idlers. *Thcy be 
always a throwing rubbish into this river on the sly.' 

' Who is ?' sharply asked Diggs. ' They had better let me catch 
'em at it !' 

' Lots of folks is,' was the response. * But if it was a dead dog, 
it couldn't well have cried out.' 

Diggs went in-doors to his mother's chamber. What time was 
it, this tale of yours ?' asked he. 

* It was about half-past seven,' she answered. ' The half-hour 
chimed out from the college, just afore or just after, I forget which. 
And then she related again what she knew he could not clearly 
comprehend over night: the fact of the fleet-sounding footsteps, 
and that they appeared to be young footsteps. * If I didn't know 
the cloisters to be shut at that hour, I should ha' thought they come 
direct from the west door ' 

The words were interrupted by a calling from below ; and the 
man hastened down. A boy's cap — ^knowTi, from its form, to belong 



i 



TIIS CHANNINGS. 333 

to one of the collegiate scholars— had just been found under the 
lov/er bank, lodged in the mud. Then somebody had been drowned ! 
and it was a college boy. 

Where does a crowd collect from? I don't believe anybody can 
tell : but that we can't sec their descent, it might be supposed they 
dropped from the skies. Not three minutes after that trencher was 
picked up, the people were gathering thick and threefold, retired 
though the spot was ; and it was at this time that Mr. Bill Sirams 
liad passed, and heard the tale which turned his heart and his face 
white. 

Some time given to supposition, to comments, and to other gossip, 
indigenous to an event of the sort, and then Mr. Diggs started for 
the college school with the cap. Another messenger ran to tho 
Channings' house, the name in the cap shownig to whom it had be- 
longed. Diggs related the substance of this to the master, sup- 
pressing certain little points bearing upon himself. 

Mr. Pye took the cap in his hand, and looked inside. The name, 
'C. Channing,' was in Mrs. Channing's writing; and, in tho 
sprawling hand of one of the school-boys — it looked like Bywater's 
— ' Miss ' had been added. Charley had scratched the addition over 
witli strokes from a pen, but the word was distinct still. 

* The river must be dragged, Diggs,' said Hamish Channing. 

* The drags are being got ready now, sir. They'll be in, by tho 
time I get back.' 

Hamish strode to the door. Tom came up from his desk, 
showing some agitation, and looked at the master. * You will 
allow me to go, sir ? I can do no good at my lessons in this sus- 
pense.' 

* Yes,' replied the master. lie was going himself. 

The school rose with one accord. The under-masters rose. To 
think of study, in this excitement, was futile ; and, in defiance of all 
precedent, the boys were allowed to quit the room, and troop down 
to the river. It was a race which should get there first ; masters 
vind boys ran together. The only one who walked pretty soberly 
was the head-master. He had to uphold his dignity. 

The drags were already in the river, and the banks were lined ; 
police, friends, spectators, gentlemen, mob, and college boys, jos- 
tled each other. Arthur Channing, pale and agitated, came run- 
ning from his home. The old vergers and bedesmen came ; some 
of the clergy came; Judy came; and the dean came. Hamish, 
outwardly self-possessed, and giving his orders with quiet authority, 
wa.s inwardly troubled as ho had never been. The boy had been 



334: THE CnANNINQS. 

left to his charge, and how should he answer for this to his falh.o? 
and mother ? 

He went in and saw the old woman ; as did the renowned Mr. 
Butterby, who had appeared with the rest. She related to them 
succinctly what she had heard on the previous night. * I could ha 
told, without having heard it now, that it was the steps of a college 
boy,' she said. ' I don't listen so often to 'em that I need mistake, 
lie seemed to be coming from the west door o' the cloisters — only 
that the cloisters be shut at night; so he may have come round 
by the front o' the college. Desperate quick he ran, and le'pt down 
the steps ; and, a minute after, there was the splash and the cry, 
and the footsteps were heard no more. One might fancy that, in 
turning the comer to run along the towing-path, he had turned too 
quick, with too wide a sweep, and so fell over the bank.' 

* Did you hear no noise afterwards ?' questioned Famish, 

* I didn't. I called out, but nobody came anigh to answer it : 
and then I hid my ears. I was afraid, ye see.' 

They left the old woman's bedside, and returned to the crowd 
on the bank. The dean quietly questioned Hamish about the facts, 
and shook his head when put in possession of tliem. ' I fear there 
is little hope,' he said. 

' Very little. My father and mother's absence makes it the more 
distressing. I know not, Mr. Dean, .how ' 

Who was this, pushing vehemently up, to the discomfiture of 
everybody, elbowing the dean with as little ceremony as lie might 
have elbowed Ketch, thrusting aside Hamish, and looking do'vvn on 
the river with flashing eyes, with working nostrils ? AVho should 
it be, but Eoland Yorke ? for that was his usual way of pushing 
through a crowd ; as you have heard before. 

' Is it true?' he gasped. ' Is Charles Channing in the water ! — 
Kent there through the tricks of the college boys — of Tod ?' 

' There is little doubt of its truth, Eoland,' was the answer oi 
Hamish. 

Eoland said no more. Off went his coat, off went his waistcoat, 

3ff went other garments, leaving him nothing but his drawers and 

his shirt ; and in he leaped impetuously, before anybody could stop 

uim, and floundered away in the water, looking after Charles. 

paying no heed to the shouts that the drags would get hold of his 

legs. 

******** 

But neither drags nor Eoland could find Charles. The drags 
wore continued in use, but there was no result. Tory few had 




THE CHANNINGS. 335 

expected that there would be any result: the probability being 
that the current had carried the body down the stream. Hamish 
had been home to soothe the grief of his sisters — or rather to essay 
at soothing it— and then he came back again. 

Roland, his ardour cooled, had likewise been home to exchange 
his wet things for dry ones. This done, he was flying out again, 
when he came upon the Eeverend William Yorke, who was hasten- 
ing down to the scene, in some agitation. 

' Is the boy found, Eoland, do you know? How did it happen 
Did he fall in?' 

' Considering the light in -^hich you regard the family, William 
Yorke, I wonder you should waste your breath to ask about it,' 
was Eoland's touchy answer, delivered with as much scorn as ho 
could call up. 

Mr. Yorke said no more, only quickened his pace towards tho 
river. Eoland kept up with him and continued talking. 

' It's a good thing all tho world's not of your opinion, William 
Yorke! You thought to put a slight upon Constance Channing 
when you told her she might go along, for you. It has turned out 
just the best luck that could have happened to her.' 

' Be silent, sir,' said Mr. Yorke, his pale cheek flushing scarlet. 
* I have already told you that I will not permit you to use Miss 
Channing's name to me. You have nothing to do with her or with 
me.' 

' You have nothing to do with her, at any rate^' cried aggravating 
Roland. ' She'll soon belong to your betters, William Yorke.* 

Mr. Yorke turned his flashing eye upon him, plainly asldng the 
explanation that he would not condescend to ask in words. It 
gave Roland an advantage, and he went on swimmingly with his 
mischief. 

* Lord Carrick has seen the merits of Constance, if you have not ; 
and — I don't mind telling it you in confidence — has resolved to 
make her his wife. He says she's the prettiest girl he has seen for 
ages.' 

' It is not true,' said Mr. Yorke, haughtily. 

• Not true ! ' returned Roland. ' You'll see whether it's true cr 
not, when she's Countess of Carrick, Lady Augusta M'as present 
when he made her the offer. He was half afraid to make it for 
some time, he told us, as he was getting on in years, and hod 

. grey hair. Halloa ! you are turning yellow, WiUiam Yorke. She 
ean't be anything to you ! You threw her away, you know.' 
William Yorke, vouchsafing no reply, got away from his tormontor. 



336 THE CHANNINGS. 

He probably did look yellow ; certainly lie felt so Eolaiid indulged 
in a quiet laugh. He had been waiting for this opportunity, ever 
since he became cognizant of what had taken place between the 
earl and Constance. The earl had made no secret of his intention 
and its defeat. ' I'll have some fun over it with Mr. William,' had 
been Roland's thought. 

A sudden noise ! Cries and shouts on the banks of the river, 
and the dense crowd swayed about with excitement. Mr. Yorke 
and Eoland set off to run, each from his different point, and the 
cries took a distinct sound as they neared them. 

* They have found the body ! ' 

It was being laid then upon the bank. Those who could get 
near tried to obtain a glimpse of it. The college boys, with white 
faces and terror-stricken consciences, fought for a place ; Eoland 
Yorke fought for it ; the head-master fought for it : I am not sure 
that the bishop — who had seen the commotion from his palace 
windows, and came up to know what it meant— did not fight for it. 

A false alarm, so far as the present object was concerned. A 
little lad, who had been drowned more than a week before, had 
turned up now. He had incautiously climbed on the parapet of 
the bridge, whence he fell into the water, and their search for him 
had hitherto been fruitless. He was not a pleasant sight to look 
upon, as he lay there ; but the relief to certain of the college boys, 
when they found it was not Charles, was immeasurable. By water's 
spirits went up to some of their old impudence- heat. * In looking 
for one thing you find another,' quoth he. 

A^ery true, Mr. Bywater! Sometimes we find more than we 
bargain for. The drags were thrown in again, and the excited 
crowd jostled each other as before, their faces hanging over the 
brink. Hush ! Hark ! Another prize ! What is it, coming up 
now ? 

A rare prize, this time ! The drags pulled and tugged, and tlio 
men cried, ' Heave-ho ! ' and the hundred and one voices echo'ed it : 
' Heave-ho ! heave-ho ! ' Hush ! Hush— sh — sh ! A breathless 
minute of suspense, and up it comes. Amid straw and tangled 
weeds and mud, and the odds and ends that a river's waters will 
collect, something hard and clanking was thrown upon the bank, 
and wondering eyes and faces peered over it. 

Nothing but a pair of keys. A pair of large rusty keys, tied 
together by a string. Bywater, and Hurst, and yoimg Galloway, 
and one or two more, cast significant glances together, and were 
Qearly choking with fright and suppressed laughter. One, standing 



J 



THE CIIANNINGS. SS7 

tlicre, conspicuous for his dress, wliicli among other items comprised 
an apron, turned a significant glance on them. Bold Eywater 
met it, and looked a little less bold than usual. But the prelate 
had kept counsel, and meant to keep it; and he looked away 
again. 

Once more were the drags thrown into the water. Once more 
the mob, gentle and simple, hustled on its brink. When the 
college bell tolled out for morning prayers, those, whose duty it 
was to attend the cathedral, drew themselves away unwillingly 
Arthur Channing was one. Whatever might be his grief, his 
suspense, obligations must be fulfilled. 

Later in the day, when the search was OTer — for it was deemed 
useless to continue it — and when hope was over, a council was 
held at Mr. Channing's house. Mr. and Mrs. Channing must be 
acquainted with this sad business ; but how was it to bo done ? 
Bj letter ? by telegraph ? or by a special messenger ? Constance 
had suggested writing, and silently hoped that Hamisli would take 
the task upon himself, for she felt nearly unequal to it, in her dire 
distress. Mr. Galloway, who had been in and out all the morning, 
suggested the telegraph. Hamish approved of neither, but proposed 
to despatch Arthur, to make the communication in person. 

* I cannot leave Helstonleigh myself,' he said ; ' therefore it must 
devolve upon Arthur. Of course his journey will be an expense ; 
but there are times when expenso must not be regarded. I con- 
sider this one.' 

* A letter would go quicker,' Said Mr. Galloway. 

* Scarcely, in these days of fast travelling,' was the reply of 
Hamish. ' But that is not the question. A letter, let it be ever so 
explanatory, will only put them in suspense. As soon as they have 
read it, five hundred questions will suggest themselves that they 
will wish to ask; and, to wait to have them satisfied, will be 
intolerable, especially to my mother. Arthur's going will obviate 
tliis. He knows as much as Ave know, and can impart his know- 
ledge to them.' 

' There is a great deal m what you say,' mused Mr. Galloway. 

* I am sure there is,' spoke Constance through her tears, 'though 
it did not strike me previously. In mamma's anxiety and suspense, 
she might start for home, to learn details.' 

' And I think it is what she would do,' said Hamish : * if not my 
father also. It will be better that Arthur should go. He can toll 
them all they would learn if they came home ; and so far as it patj 
be, that would be satisfactoiy.' 

Z 



388 THE CHANNINGS. 

TLcy were interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Huntley .iLd liis 
daughter. Ellen had begged her father, when she found he was 
going to the Channings', to allow her to accompany him, and see 
Constance in her distress. Mr. Huntley readily acquiesced. The 
drowning of poor Charley was a serious affliction, in contemplation 
of which he forgot the ineligibility of her meeting Hamish. 

Hamish did not appear to perceive any ineligibility in the matter. 
He was the first to take Ellen's hand in his, and bend upon her his 
sweet smile of welcome. Ivnowing what Ellen did know of Mr. 
Huntley's sentiments, and that he was looking on, it rendered her 
manner confused and her cheeks crimson. She was glad to turn 
to Constance, and strive to say a few words of sympathy. ' Had 
Harry been one of those wicked, thoughtless boys to join in this 
gliost trick, I could never have forgiven him!' she impulsively 
exclaimed, the hot tears running down her cheeks. 

The subject under consideration was referred to Mr. Huntley, 
and his opinion requested : more as a form of courtesy than any- 
thing, for Hamish had made up his mind upon the point. A 
thoroughly affectionate, dutiful son was Hamish Channing; and 
he believed that the tidings could be rendered more bearable to his 
father and mother by a messenger being sent, than they could bo 
by any other mode of communication. The excuse that Constance 
and Arthur had, throughout, found for Hamish in their hearts wajs, 
that he had taken the bank-note, out of latent affection to Mr. and 
Mrs. Channing. 

' You are wrong, every one of you,' said Mr. Huntley, when lie 
Iiad listened to what they had to say. ' You must send neither 
letter nor messenger. It will not do.' 

Hamish looked at him. ' Then what can we send, sir T 

' Don't send at all.' 

' Not send at all !' repeated Hamish. 

' Certainly not,' said Mr. Huntley. * You have no positive proof 
yet that the child is dead. It will be alarming them unnecessarily. 

*Mr. Huntley!' said Constance. 'Is it possible that you see 
grounds for hope ?' 

' Honestly to confess it, my dear, I do not see much ground Tor 
hope,' he replied. 'But, on the other hand, there are no positive 
grounds for despair. So long as you have not these grounds 
furnished, I say, keep it from Mr. and Mrs. Channing. Answer me 
one thing • "What good end would it serve, the telling them?' 

* Is it not a duty ?' 

' I do not see it/ said Mr, Huntley. * Were the poor bn) 's fato 



THE CIL^NINGS. 339 

known, beyond uncertainty, it would be a different matter. If you 
send and tell them all there is to tell, what would come of it ? 
The very suspense, the doubt, would have a bad eflfect. It might 
bring Mr. Channing home ; and the good already effected, might 
bo driven back again — his time, his purse, his hopes, that he has 
given to the journey, wasted. Allowing that he still remained, the 
news might check his cure. No : my strong advice to you is, 
Suffer them for the present to remain in ignorance.' 

Hamish began to think Mr. Huntley might be right. 

' I know I am right,' said Mr. Huntley. * If the putting them in 
possession of the facts could be productive of any benefit to them- 
selves, to you, or to Charles, I'd go off myself with Arthur this 
hour. But it could effect nothing ; and, to them, it might result it 
ill. Until we know something more certain ourselves, let us keep 
it from them.' 

'Yes, I see it,* said Hamish, warmly. * It will be best so.' 

Constance felt her arm touched, and coloured with emotion when 
she found it was done by the Eeverend Mr. Yorke. In this day of 
distress, jjeople seemed to come in and go out without ceremony. 
Mr. Yorke had entered with Tom Channing. He entirely took up 
the new view of the matter, and strongly advised that it should not 
be allowed to reach Mr. and Mrs. Channing. 

Mr. Galloway, when he was departing, beckoned Constance into 
the hall. It was only to give her a private word of friendly sym- 
pathy, of advice — not to be overwhelmed, to cling to hope. She 
thanked him, but it was with an aching heart, for Constance could 
not feel this hope. 

'Will you grant me the favour of a minute's private interview?' 
asked Mr. Yorke stiffly, meeting her in the hall. 

Constance hesitated for a moment. He was asking what she felt 
he had no right to ask. She coloured, bowed, and stepped towards 
the drawing-room. Mr. Yorke threw open the door for her, 
and followed her in. 

Then he became agitated. "Whatever his pride or his temper 
may have been, whether the parting between them was his fault or 
Constance's, it was certain that he loved her with an enduring love. 
Until that morning he had never contemplated the losing Con- 
tance; he had surely looked forward to some indefinite future 
when she should be his j and the words spoken by Eoland had well 
nigh driven him mad. Which was precisely what Mr. Eoland 
hoped they would do. 

* T would not ?rei\k to you on this day, when you are in distress 

-7 J. 



340 THE CHANNINGS. 

wlien you may deem it an unfitting time for me to speak,' he began, 
' but I cannut live in this suspense. Let me confess that, what 
brought me here, was to obtain this interview with you, quite as 
much as this other unhappy business. You will forgive my speak- 
ing to-day.' 

' Mr. Yorke, I do not know what you can have to speak of,' she 
answered, with dignity. ' My distress is great, but I can hear 
what you wish to say.' 

' I heard— I heard ' — he spoke with emotion, and went plunging 
abruptly into his subject — ' I heard this morning that Lord Carrick 
was soliciting you to become his wife.' 

Constance could have laughed, but for her own distress, agitated 
though he was. * Well, sir ?' she coldly said, in a little spirit of 
mischief. 

' Constanc;^, you cannot do it,' he passionately retorted. ' You 
cannot so perjure yourself!' 

* Mr. Yorke ! Have you the right to tell me I shall or shall not 
marry Lord Carrick?' 

' You can't do it, Constance !' he repeated, laying his hand upon 
her shoulder, and speaking hoarsely. ' You know that j^ur whole 
affection was given to me ! It is mine etill ; I feel it |s. You have 
not transferred it to another in this short time. You\dd wot lovo 
and forget so lightly.' , ; 

* Is this all you have to say to me ?' 

* No, it is not all,' he answered, with emotion, * I warit you to 
be mi/ wife, Constance, not his. I want you to forget this 
miserable estrangement that has come between us, and come home 
to me at Sazledon.' 

* Listen, Mr. Yorke,' she said ; but it was with the utmost difficulty 
she retained her indifi'erent manner, and kept her tears from falling : 
Bhe would have liked to be taken then to his sheltering arms, nevei 
to have quitted them. ' The cause which led to our parting, was 
that suspicion that fell upon Arthur, coupled with something that 
■fovL were not pleased with in my own manner relating to it. That 
suspicion is upon him still ; and my course of conduct would bo 
precisely the same, were it to come over again. I am sorry 
you should have reaped up tiiis matter, for it can only end as it 
did before.' 

* Will you not marry me ?' he resumed. 

' No. So long as circumstances look dark on my brother.' 

* Constance ! that may be for ever !' 

* Yes ' she sadly ansjvered, knowing what she did know ; ' they 




Tni5 CHANNINGS. 841 

may never be brighter than they are now. Were I tempted to be- 
come your wife, you might reproach me afterwards for allying you 
to disgrace ; and that, I think, would kill me. I leg you not to 
speak of this again.' 

* And you refuse me for Lord Carrick ! You will go and marry 
him !' exclaimed Mr. Yorke, struggling between reproach, affection, 
and temper. 

* You must allow me to repeat that you have no right to question 
me,' she said, moving to the door. * When our engagement was 
forfeited, that right was forfeited with it.' 

She opened the door to quit tho room. Mr. Yorke might have 
wished further to detain her, but Judy came bustling up. ' Lady 
Augusta's here. Miss Constance.' 

Lady Augusta Yorke met Constance in tlie hall, seizing both her 
hands. ' I had a bad headache, and lay in bed, and nef er heai'd of 
it till an hour ago !' she uttered wifh the same sort of impulsive 
kindness that sometimes actuated Eoland. *Isit true that he is 
di'owned ? Is it true that Tod was in it ? — Gerald says he was. 
William, are you here ?' 

Constance took Lady Augusta into the general sitting-room, into 
the presence of the rest of her guests. Lady Augusta asked a 
hundred questions, at the least ; and they made her acquainted 
with the different points, so far as they were cognizant of them. She 
declared that Tod should be kept upon bread and water for a vreek, 
and she would go to the school and request Mr. Pye to flog him. 
She overwhelmed Constance with kindness, wishing she and 
Annabel would come to her house and remain entirely for a few 
days. Constance thanked her, and found some difficulty in being 
allowed to refuse. 

' Here is his exercise book,' observed Constance, the tears filling 
her eyes ; ' here is tho very place where he laid liis pen. Every 
other minute I think it cannot be true that he is gone— that it 
must be all a dream.' 

Lady Augusta took up the pen and kissed it ; it was her way of 
showing sympathy. Mr. Huntley smiled. 'Where's William 
gone V asked Lady Augusta. 

The Reverend William Yorke had quitted the house, shaking the 
dust from hi« shoes in anger, as he crossed the threshold. Anger 
as much at himself, for having ever given her up, as at Constance 
Channing; and still most at the Right Honourable the Earl of 
Carrick. 



34.2 THE OHANNINGS. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

MR. JENKINS IN A DILEMMA. 

I don't know what you Avill say to mo for introdncing you iiifcj 
the privacy of Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins's bed-chamber, but it is really 
necessary. We cannot very well get along without it. 

A conjugal dispute had occurred that morning when Mrs. Jenkins 
got up. She was an early riser ; as was Jenkins also, in a general 
way ; but since his illness, he had barely contrived to get down in 
time for breakfast. On this morning — which was not the one 
following the application of mustard to his chest, but one about a 
week subsequent to that medicinal operation — Mrs. Jenkins, upon 
preparing to descend, peremptorily ordered him to remain in bed. 
Nothing need be recorded of the past week, save two facts : 
Charles Channing had not been discovered, either in life or in 
death ; and the Earl of Carrick had terminated his visit, and left 
Helstonleigh. 

* I'll bring your breakfast up,' said Mrs. Jenkins. 

* It is of no use to say that,' Jenkins ventured meekly to remon- 
strate. * You know I must get up.' 

' I say you shall not get up. Here you are, growing weaker and 
worse every day, and yet you won't take care of yourself! "Where's 
the use of your taking a bottle a-day of cough mixture — where's 
the use of your making the market scarce of cod-liver oil — where's 
the use of wasting good mustard, if it's all to do you no good ? Does 
it do you any good ?' 

*I am afraid it has not, as yet,' confessed Jenkins. 

* And never will, so long as you give your body and brains no 
rest. Out you go by nine o'clock, in all weathers, ill or well, and 
there you are at your business till evening; stooping yourself 
double over the writing, dancing abroad on errands, wearing out 
your lungs with answering callers! There's no common sense 
in it.' 

' But, my dear, the office must be attended to,' said Jenkins, with 
much deference. 

' There's no " must " in the case, as far as you are concerned. If 
I say you shan't go to it, why, you shan't. What's the office, pray, 
in comparison with a man's life ?' 




THE CHANNINGS. 315 

* But I am not so ill as to remain away. I can g'o yet and do my 
«vork/ 

' You'd be for going, if you Avere in your coffin, you would !' was 
Mrs, Jenkins's wrathful answer. * Could you do any good then, 
pray ?' 

' But I am not in my coffin,' mildly suggested Jenkins. 

' Don't I say you'd bo for going, if you were ?' reiterated Mrs. 
Jenkins, who sometimes, in her heat, lost sight of the precise point 
under dispute. * You know you would ! you know there's nothing 
in the whole world that you think of, but that office ! Office— 
oflSce— office, it is with you from morning till night. When you 
are in your coffin, through it, you'll be satisfied.' 

'■ But it is my duty to go as long as I can, my dear.' 

'It's my duty to do a many things that I don't do!' was the 
answer ; ' and one of my duties which I haven't done yet, is to keep 
you in doors for a bit, and nurse you up. I shall begin it from to- 
day, and see if I can't get you well, that way.' 

'But ' 

' Hold your tongue, Jenkins. I never say a thing but you are 
sure to put in a " but." You lie in bed this morning,— do you 
bear ? — and I'll bring up your brealifast.' 

Mrs. Jenkins quitted the room with the last order, and that 
ended the discussion. Had Jenkins been a free agent — free from 
business obligations — he had been only too glad to obey her. In 
liis present state of health, the work of the office had become 
almost too much for him ; it was with difficulty that he went to 
it and did liis duty there. Even the walk, short as it was, in the 
early morning, was nearly beyond his strength ; even the rising 
betimes was beginning to tell upon him. And though he had little 
hope that nursing himself up in-doors would prove of essential 
service, he felt that the rest it brought would be to him an ines- 
timable boon. 

But Jenkins was one who thought of duty before he thought of 
nimself ; and, therefore, to remain away from the office, if he could 
drag himself to it, appeared to him little less than a sin. He was 
paid for his time and services — fairly paid — liberally paid, some 
might have said — and they belonged to his master. But it was 
not so much from this point of view that Jenkins regarded tho 
necessity of going — conscientious though he was— as at tho 
thought of what the office would do without him, there being 
nobody to replace him but Eoland Yorke. Jenkins knew what 
he was : and so do wo. 



814 THE CHANNINGS. 

To lie ill bed, or remain in-doors, under these circumstanoes, 
Jenkins felt to be impossible ; and when his watch gave him warn- 
ing that the breakfast hour was approaching, up he got. Behold 
him sitting on the side of the bed, essaying to dress himself— essa?/- 
ing to do it. Never had Jenkins felt feebler, or weaker, or less 
able to cope with his increasing illness, than on this morning ; and 
when Mrs. Jenkins dashed in — for her quick ears had caught, 
downstairs, the sounds of his stirring— he sat there still, stockings 
in hand, unable to help himself. 

' So you were going to tri 
ashamed of yourself, Jenkins ?' 

Jenkins gasped twice before he could reply. A giddiness seemed 
to be stealing over him, as it had done that other evening, under- 
neath the elm trees. ' My dear, it is of no use your talking ; I 
must go to the office,' he gasped out. 

' You shan't go —if I lock you up ! There !' 

Jenkins was spared the trouble of a reply. The giddiness 
had increased to faintness, his sight left him, and he fell back on 
the bed in a state of unconsciousness. Mrs. Jenkins rather regarded 
it as a triumph. She pushed him into bed, and tucked him up. 

' This comes of your attempting to disobey me !' said she, when 
he came round again. ' I wonder what would become of you poor, 
soft mortals of men, if you were let have your own way ! There's 
no office for you to-day, Jenkins.' 

Very peremptorily spoke she. But, lest he should attempt the 
same again, she determined to put it out of his power. Opening a 
closet, she thrust every article of his clothing into it, not Icavinj^: 
him so much as a waistcoat, turned the key, and put it into her 
pocket ; poor Jenkins watching her with despairing eyes, and not 
venturing to remonstrate. 

' There,' said she, speaking amiably in her glow of satisfaction, 
' you can go to the office now — if you Hke. I'll not stop you ; but 
you'll have to march through the streets leaving your clothes in 
that closet.' 

Under these difficulties Jenkins did not entirely see his way 
clear to get there. Mrs. Jenkins went instead, catching Mr. 
Eoland Yorke just upon his arrival. 

' What's up, that Jenkins is not here ?' began free Eoland, before 
. she could speak. 

\ * Jenkins is not in a fit state to get out of his bed, and I have 
* come to tell Mr. Galloway so,' replied she. 

Eoland Yorke's face grew to twice its usual lenftth at the news. 



THE CHANNiNGS. 8^5 

* I say, though, that will never do, Mrs. Jenkins. What's to become 
of this office ?' 

'The office must do the best it can without him. Ties not 
coming to it.' 

' / can't manage it,' said Koland, in considerable consternation. 
*I should go dead, if I had to do Jenkins's work, and my owq 
as well.' 

' Hell go dead, unless he takes some rest in time, and gets a 
httle good nursing. I should like to know how I am to nurso 
him, if he's down here all day ?' 

* That's not the question,' returned Eoland, feeling uncommonly 
blank. ' The question is, how the office, and I, and Galloway are 
to get along without him ? Couldn't he come in a sedan V 

* Yes, ho can ; if he likes to come without his clothes,' retorted 
Mrs. Jenkins. ' I have taken care to lock them up.' 

' Locked his clothes up !' repeated Eoland, in wonder. * "What's 
that for V 

' Because, as long as he has got a bit of life in him, he'll use it to 
drag himself down here,' answered Mrs. Jenkins, tartly. ' That's 
why. He was getting up to come this morning, defying me, 
and every word I said to him against it, when he fell down on 
the bed in a fainting fit. I thought it time to lock his things up 
then.' 

'Upon my word, I don't know what's to be done,' resumed 
Ptoland, growing quite hot with dismay and perplexity, at the 
prospect of some extra work for himself. ' Look here !' exhibiting 
the parchments on Jenkins's desk, all so neatly left — 'here's an 
array ! Jenkins did not intend to stay away, when he left those 
last night, I know.' 

' He intend to stay away ! catch him thinking of it,' retorted 
Mrs. Jenkins. ' It is as I have just told him — that he'd come in 
his coffin. And it's my firm belief that if he knew a week's holiday 
would save him from his coffin, he'd not take it, unless I was at 
his back to make him. It's well he has got somebody to look after 
him that's not quite deficient of common sense !' 

' Well, this is a plague !' grumbled Eoland. 

' So it is— for me, I know, if for nobody else,' was Mrs. Jenkins's 
reply. 'But there's some plagues in the world that we must put 
up with, and make the best of, whether wo like 'em or not ; and 
this is one. You'll tell Mr. Galloway, please; it will save me 
waiting.' 

However, as Mrs. Jenkins was departing, she encountered Mr« 



846 THE CHANNIWGS. 

Galloway, and told him herself. He was both vexed and jp-icred 
to hear it ; grieved on Jenkins's score, vexed on his own. That 
Jenkins was growing very ill, he believed from his own observa- 
tion, and it could not have happened at a more untoward time. 
Involuntarily, Mr. Galloway's thoughts tunied to Arthur Channing, 
and he wished he had him in the office still. 

'You must turn over a new leaf from this very hour, Eoland 
Yorke,' he observed to that gentleman, when he entered. 'Y>'c 
must both of us buckle-to, if we are to get through the work.' 

* It's not possible, sir, that I can do Jenkins's share and mine,' 
said Eoland. 

' If you only do Jenkins's, I'll do yours,' replied Mr. Galloway 
significantly. 'Understand me, Eoland: I shall expect you tft 
show yourself equal to this emergency. Put aside frivolity and 
idleness, and apply yourself in earnest. Jenkins has been in the 
habit of taking part of your work upon himself, like I believe no 
clerk living would have done ; and, in return, you must now take 
his. I hope in a few days he may bo with us again. Poor fellow, 
we shall find his loss !' 

Mr. Galloway had to go out in the course of the morning, and 
Eoland was left alone to the cares and work of the office. It 
occurred to him that, as a preliminary step, he could not do better 
than put the window open, that the sight of people passing (espe- 
cially any of his acquaintance, with whom ho might exchange 
greetings, should cheer him on at his hard work. Accordingly, ho 
threw it up to its utmost extent, and went on with his writing, 
giving alternately one look to his task, and two to the street. Not 
many minutes had he been thus spurring on his industry, when ho 
saw Arthur Channing pass. 

* Hist — st — st !' called out Eoland, by way of attracting his atten- 
tion. ' Come in, old fellow, will you ? Here's such a game !' 



CHAPTER XLY. 

A NEW SUSPICION. 

Arthur Channing had been walking leisurely down Close-street. 
His time hung heavily on his hands. In quitting the cathedral 
after morning service, he had joined Mr. Harper, the lay clerk, and 
went with him, talking, towards the town ; partly because he had 
nothing to do elsewhere — partly because out of doors appeared 
more desirable than home. In the uncertain state of suspense they 



i 



TmS CHANNINGS. 347 

were Kept iu, respecting Charles, the minds of all, from I lamish 
down to Annabel, were in a constant state of unrest. When they 
rose in the morning the first thought was, 'Shall we bear of 
Charles to-day?' When they retired at bed time, it was, 'What 
may not the river give up this night ?' It appeared to themselves 
that they were continually expecting tidings of some sort or other ; 
and, with this expectation, hope would sometimes be mingled. 
Hope ! where could it spring from ? ITie only faint suspicion of 
it, indulged at first, that Charley had been rescued in some provi- 
dential manner, and conveyed to a house of shelter, had had time 
to die out. A few houses there were, half-concealed near the river, 
like there are near most other rivers of traffic, which the police 
trusted just as far as they could see, and whose inmates did not 
Doast of shining reputations ; but the police had overhauled these 
thoroughly, and found no trace of Charley. Nor was it likely that 
they would conceal a child. So long as Charles's positive fato 
remained a mystery, suspense could not cease ; and M'ith this 
suspense there did mingle some faint glimmer of hope. Suspense 
urges to exertion ; inaction is intolerable to it. Hamish, Arthur, 
Tom, all would rather be out of doors now, than in ; there might bo 
something to be heard of, some information to be met, and the 
looking after it was better than the staying at home to wait for it. 
No wonder, then, that Arthur Channing's steps would bend of their 
own accord towards the town, when he left the cathedral, morning 
and afternoon. 

It was in passing Mr. Galloway's office, the window of which 
stood wide open, that Arthur had found himself called to by Eoland 
Yorke. 

'What is it ?' he asked, halting at the window. 

' You are the very chap I wanted to see,' cried out Eoland. 
* Come in ! Don't be afraid of meeting Galloway : he's off some- 
where.' 

The prospect of meeting Mr. GaUoway would not have prevented 
Arthur from entering. He was conscious of no wrong, and he did 
not shrink as though he had committed it. He went in, and Mr. 
Harper proceeded on his way. 

* Here's a go !' was Eoland's salutation. * Jenkins is laid up. 

It was nothing but what Arthur had expected. He, lil^e Mr. 
Galloway, had observed Jenkins gi'owing ill and more ill. ' How 
shall you manage without him?' asked Arthur; Mr. Galloway's 
dilemma being the first thing that occurred to his mind. 

' Who's to know ?' answered Eoland, who was in an explosive 



348 THE CHAKNINGS. 

temper ; '/ don't. If Galloway thinks to put it all on my back, it's 
a scandalous shame ! 1 never could do it, or the half of it. Jenkins 
worked like a horse when we were busy. He'd hang his head down 
over his desk, and never lift it for two hours at a stretch ! — you 
know he would not. Fancy my doing that ! I should get brain 
fever before a week was out.' 
Arthur smiled at this. *Is Jenkins much worse?' he inquired. 

* I don't believe he's worse at all,' returned Eoland, tartly. ' He'd 
have come this morning, as usual, fast enough, only she locked up 
his clothes.' 

* Who ?' said Arthur, in surprise. 

* She. That agreeable lady who has the felicity of owning Jen- 
kins. She was here this morning as large as life, giving an account 
of her doings, without a blush. She locked up his things, she says, 
to keep him in bed. I'd trick her, I know, were I Jenkins. I'd 
put on her flounces, but what I'd come out, if I wanted to. Eather 
short they'd be, for him.' 

' I shall go, Roland. My being here only hinders you.* 

' As if that made any difference worth counting ! Look here ! — 
piles and piles of parchments ! I and Galloway could never get 
through them, hindered or not hindered. / am not going to work 
over hours ! / won't kill myself with labour. There's Port Natal, 
thank goodness, if the screw does get put upon me too much !' 

Arthur made no reply. It made little difference to Eoland: 
whether encouraged or not, talk he would. 

*I have heard of folks being worked beyond their strength ; and 
that will be my case, if one may judge by present appearances. 
It's too bad of Jenkins !' 

Arthur spoke up : he did not like to hear blame, even from Eoland 
Yorke, cast upon hard-working, patient Jenkins. ' You should not 
eay it, Eoland. It is not Jenkins's fault. 

'■ It is his fault. What does he have such a wife for ? She keeps 
Jenkins under her thumb, just as Galloway keeps me. She locked 
up his clothes, and then told him he might come here without them, 
if he liked : my belief is, she'll be sending him so, some day. 
Jenkins ought to put her down. He's big enough.' 

*He would be sure to come here, if he were equal to it,' said 
Arthur. 

'He! Of course he would!' angrily retorted Eoland. 'He'd 
crawl here on all fours, but what he'd come ; only she won't let 
him. She knows it too. She said this morning that he'd come 
«7hea ho was in his coffin ! I should like to see it arrive 1' 



TKE CIIAJifNINaS. 349 

Arthur had been casting a glance at the papers. They were un- 
usually numerous, and he began to think with Eoland that he and 
Mi\ Galloway would not be able to get through them unaided. 
Most certainly they would not, at Eoland's present rate of work. 
^ It is a pity you are not a quick copyist,' he said. 

' I. dare say it is !' sarcastically rejoined Eoland, beginning to play 
flt ball with the wafer-box. ' I never was made for work ; and 
if- ' 

' You will have to do it, though, sir,' thundered Mr. Galloway, 
wlio had come up, and was enjoying a survey of affairs through the 
open window. Mr. Eoland, somewhat taken to, dropped his head 
and the wafer-box together, and went on with his writing as meekly 
as poor Jenkins would have done ; and Mr. Galloway entered. 

' Good day,' said he to Arthur, shortly enough. 

' Good day, sir,' was the response. Mr. Galloway turned to his 
idle clerk. 

* Eoland Yorke, you must either work or say you will not. There 
is no time for playing and fooling ; no time, sir ! do you hear ? 
Who put that window stark staring open ?' 

*I did, sir,' said incorrigible Eoland. 'I thought the oflSce 
might be the better for a little air, when there was so much to do 
in it.' 

Mr. Galloway shut it with a bang. Arthur, who would not 
leave without some attempt at a passing courtesy, let it be ever so 
slight, made a remark to Mr. Galloway, that he was sorry to hear 
Jenkins worse. 

'He is so much worse,' was the response of Mr. Gallloway, 
spoken sharply, for the edification of Eoland Yorke, ' that I doubt 
whether he will ever enter this room again. Yes, sir, you may 
look ; but it is the truth !' 

Eoland did look, looked with considerable consternation. * How 
on earth will the work get done, then ?' he muttered. Witlx all his 
grumbling, he had not contemplated Jenkins being away more than 
a day or two. 

' I do not know how it will get done, considering that the clerk 
dpon whom I have to depend is Eoland Yorke,' answered Mr. Gal- 
loway, with severity. ' One thing appears pretty evident, that 
Jenkins will not be able to help to do it.' 
11 Mr. Galloway, more perplexed at the news brought by Mrs. 
II Jenkins than he had let appear (for, although he chose to make a 
show of depending upon Eoland, he knew how much dependence 
there was in reality to bo placed upon him — none better), ha^i 



860 THE CHANNINGS. 

deemed it advisable to see Jenkins personally, and judge for himself 
of liis state of health. Accordingly, he proceeded thither, and 
arrived at an inopportune moment for his hopes. Jenkins was just 
recovering from a second fainting fit, and he appeared altogether 
so ill, so -debilitated, that Mr. Galloway was struck with dismay. 
There would be no more work from Jenkins — as he believed — for 
him. He mentioned this now in his own office, and Eoland receivec? 
it .with blank consternation. 

An impulse came to Arthm-, and he spoke upon it. ' If I can do 
you any good, sir, in this emergency, you have only to command 
me.' 

' What sort of good .?' asked Mr. Galloway. 

Arthur pointed to the parchments. * I could draw out these 
deeds, and any others that may follow them. My time is my own, 
sir, save the two hours devoted to the cathedral, and I am at a loss 
how to occupy it. I have been idle ever since I left you.' 

* Why don't you get into an office ?' said Mr. Galloway. 
Arthur's colour deepened. ' Because, sir, nobody will take me.' 

' Ah !' said Mr. Galloway, drily, ' a good name is easier lost than 
gained.' 

* Yes, it is,' freely replied Arthur. * However, sir, to return to 
the question. 1 shall be glad to help you, if you have no one 
better at hand. I could devote several hours a day to it, and you 
know that I am thoroughly competent to be trusted with the work. 
I might take some home now.' 

' Home !' returned Mr. Galloway. ' Did you mean that you could 
do it at home ?' 

* Certainly, sir, I did not think of doing it here,' was the pointed 
reply of Arthur. ^I can do it at home just as well as I could here ; 
perhaps better, for I should shu-t myself up alone, and there would 
be nothing to interrupt me, or to diaw off my attention.' 

It cannot be denied that this was a most welcome proposition to 
Mr. Galloway ; indeed, his thoughts had tm-ned to Arthur at the 
first. Arthui' would be far preferable to a strange clerk, looked for 
and brought in on the spur of the moment — one who might answer 
well or answer ill, according to chance. Yet that such must have 
been his resource, Mr. Galloway knew. 

' It will be an accommodation to me, your taking part of the 
work,' he frankly said. * But you had better come to the office 
and do it.' 

* No, sir, I would rather 

* Do, Channing !' cried out Eoland Yorke, springing up as if Ug 




THE i3HANNINGS. 351 

were olectrified. ' The office \yill be bearable if you come b'ick 
again.' 

* I would prefer to do it at home, sir, continued Arthur t(» Mr. 
Galloway, while that gentleman pointed imperiously to Yorkc, as a 
hint to him to hold his tongue and mind his own business. 

' You may come back here and do it,' said Mr. Galloway. 

* Thank you, I cannot come back,' was the reply of Arthur 

' Of course you can't !' said angry Koland, who cared less for 
Mr. Galloway's displeasure than he did for displaying his own 
feelings when they were aroused. * You won't, you mean ! I'd 
not show myself such a duff as you, Channing, if I were paid in 
gold to do it !' 

' You'll get paid in something presently, Roland Yorke, but it 
won't be in gold !' reproved Mr. Galloway. * You will do a full 
day's work to-day, sir, if you stop here till twelve o'clock at 
night.' 

' Oh, of course I look out to do that, sir,' retorted Eoland, in a 
fume. ' Considering what's before me, on this desk and on Jenkins's, 
there's little prospect of my getting home on this side four in the 
morning. They needn't sit up for me : I can go in with the milk. 
I wonder who invented writing? I wish I had the fingering 
of him just now !' 

Arthur turned to the parchments. He was nearly as much at 
home with them as Jenkins. Mr. Galloway selected two that were 
most pressing, and gave them to him, with the requisite materials 
for copying. * You will keep them secure, you know,' he re- 
marked. 

' Perfectly so, sir ; I shall sit quite alone.' 

He carried them off with alacrity. Mr. Galloway's face clearca 
as he looked after him, and he made a remark aloud, expressive of 
his satisfaction. ' There's some pleasure in giving out work when 
you know it will be done. No play — no dilatoriness — finished to 
the minute that it's looked for ! You should take a leaf out of 
his book, Yorke.' 

' Yes, sir,' freely answered Eoland. ' When you drove Arthur 
Channing out of this office, you parted with the best clerk you 
ever had. Jenkins is all very well for work, but he is nothing but 
a muff in other things. Arthur's a gentleman, and he'd have served 
you well. Jenkins himself says so. He is honourable, he is honest, 
he ' 

* 1 know enough of your sentiments with respect to his honesty,' 
intciTuptcd Mr Galloway. * Wo need not go over that tale again.* 



852 THE CHANNING8. 

* I hope everybody knows them,' rejoined Holand. * I have never 
concealed my opinion that the accusation was infamous ; that, of 
all of us in this office, from its head down to Jenkins, none was 
less likely to finger the note than Arthur Channing. But of course 
my opinion goes for nothing.' 

' You are bold, young man.' 

' I fear it is my nature to be so ' cried free Eoland. ' If it ever 
should turn up how the note went, you'll be soiTy, no doubt, for 
having visited it upon Arthur. Mr. Channing will be sorry ; the 
precious magistrates will be sorry ; that blessed dean, who wanted 
to turn him from the college, will be sorry. Not a soul of thcni 
but believes him guilty; and I hope they'll be brought to repent- 
ance for it, in sackcloth and ashes.' 

' Go on with your work,' said Mr. Galloway, angrily. 

lioland made a show of obeying. But his tongue was like a 
steam-engine : once set going, it couldn't readily be stopped 
and he presently looked up again. 

' I am not uncharitable ; at least, to individuals. I always said 
the post-office helped itself to the note, and I'd lay my last half- 
crown upon it. But there are people in the town who think it 
could only have gone in another way. You'd go into a passion 
with me, sir, perhaps, if I mentioned it.' 

Mr. Galloway — it has been before mentioned that he possessed 
an unbounded amount of curiosity, and also a propensity to gossip 
— so far forgot the force of good example as to ask Eoland what 
he meant. Eoland wanted no better encouragement, 

* Well, sir, there are people who, weighing well all the proba- 
bilities of the case, have come to the conclusion that the note could 
only have been abstracted from the letter by the person to whom 
it was addressed. None but he broke the seal of it.' 

* Do you allude to my cousin, Mr. Eobert Galloway ?' ejaculated 
Mr. Galloway, as soon as indignation and breath allowed him to 
speak. 

*■ Others do,' said Eoland. * I say it was the post-office.' 
' How dare you repeat so insolent a suspicion to my face, Eoland 
Yorke?' 

'I said I should catch it !' cried Eoland, speaking partly to him- 
self. ' I am sure to get in for it, one way or another, do what I 
will. It's not my fault, sir, if I have heard it spoken in the 

t0T\Tl.' 

* Apply yourself to your work, sir, and hold your tongue. If 
you say another word, Eoland Yorke, I shall feel inclined als(7 




TUE CHANNINGS. SGM 

CO turn you away, as one idle and incorrigible, of whom noiliini; 
can bo made.' 

' Wouldn't it bo a jovial excuse for Port Natal !' exclaimed 
Eoland, but not in the hearing of his master, who had gone into 
his own room in much wrat'Ii. Roland laughed aloud ; there was 
nothing he enjoyed so much as to be in opposition to Mr. Galloway ; 
it had been better for the advancement of that gentleman's work, 
had he habitually kept a tighter rein over his pupil. It was 
perfectly true, however, that the new phase of suspicion, regarding 
the loss of the note, had been spoken in the town, and Roland only 
repeated what he had heard. 

Apparently, Mr. Galloway did not like this gi'atuitous suggestion. 
He presently came back again. A paper was in his hand, and ho 
began comparing it with one on Roland's desk. ' Where did you 
hear that unjustifiable piece of scandal T he inquired, as he was 
doing it. 

* The first person I heard speak of it was my mother, sir. She 
came home one day from calling upon people, and said she had 
heard it somewhere. And it was talked of at Knivett's last night. 
He had a bachelors' party, and the subject was brought up. Some 
of us ridiculed the notion ; others thought it might have grounds.' 
'And pray, which did you favour.?' sarcastically asked iMr. 
Galloway. 

' I ? I said then, as I have said all along, that there was nobody 
to thank for it but the post-office. If you ask me, sir, who first set 
the notion afloat in the town, I cannot satisfy you. All I know is, 
the rumour is circulating.' 

' If I could discover the primary author of it, I would take legal 
steps to punish him,' warmly concluded Mr. Galloway. 

' I'd help,' said undaunted Roland. * Some fun might arise out 

of that.' 

Mr. Galloway carried the probate of a will to his room, and sat 

)wn to examine it. But his thoughts were elsewhere. This 

spicion, mentioned by Roland Yorke, had laid hold of his mind 

^ost impleasantly, in spite of his show of indignation before 

)land. He had no cause to deem his cousin otherwise than 

mest ; it was next to impossible to suppose he could be guilty of 

lying him such a trick ; but somehow Mr. Galloway could not 

j1 so sure upon the point as he would have wished. His cousin 

ras a needy man — one who had made ducks and drakes of his own 

)roperty, and was for ever appealing to Mr. Galloway for as- 

sistmiee. Mr. Galloway did not shut his eyes to the fact that il 

2 A 



354 THE CHANNINGS. 

this should Lave been the case, Eobert Galloway had had forty 
pounds from him instead of twenty — a great help to a man at his 
wits' end for money. He had forwarded a second twenty-pound 
note, upon receiving-information of the loss of the first. 

What he most disliked, looking at it from this point of view, was, 
not the feeling that he had been cleverly deceived and laughed at, 
but that Arthur Channing should have sufi'ered unjustly. If the 
lad luas innocent, why, how cruel had been his own conduct towards 
liim ! But with these doubts came back the remembrance of 
Arthur's unsatisfactory behaviour with respect to the loss; his 
non-denial ; his apparent guilt ; his strange shrinking from investi- 
gation. Busy as Mr. Galloway was, that day, he could not coniine 
his thoughts to his business ; he would willingly have given another 
twenty-pound note out of his pocket to know, beyond doubt, 
whether or not Arthur was guilty. 

Arthur, meanwhile, hiad commenced his task. He took pos- 
session of the study, where he was secure from interruption, and 
applied himself diligently to it.- How still the house seemed ! 
How still it had seemed since the loss of Charles ! Even Annabel 
and Tom were wont to hush their voices ; ever listening, as it were, 
for tidings to be brought of him. Save the two servants, Arthur 
was alone in it. Hamish was abroad, at his office ; Constance and 
Annabel were at Lady Augusta's ; Tom was in school ; and Charles 
was not. Judith's voice would be heard now and then, wafted 
from the kitchen regions, in direction or reproof to Sarah ; but 
there was no other sound. Ai'thur thought of the old days when 
the sun had shone ; when he was free and upright in the sight 
of men ; when Constance was happy in her future prospects of 
wedded life ; when Tom looked forth certainly to the seniorship ; 
when Charley's sweet voice and sweeter face might be seen aud 
heard ; when Hamish — oh, bitter thought, of all ! — when Hamish 
had not fallen from his pedestal. It had all changed — changed to 
darkness and to gloom ; and Arthur may be pardoned for feeling 
gloomy with it. But in the very midst of this gloom, there arose 
suddenly, without effort of his, certain words spoken by the con- 
soling singer of Israel ; and Arthur hnew that he had but to trust 
to them : — 

' For his wrath endureth but the twinkling of an eye, and in his 
pleasure is life ; heaviness may endure for a night, but joy conietb 
1*2 the moruing,* 



TTTJC OHANNINOS. 355 



ciiapteh xlyi. 

A LETTER FOR I^IR. GALLOWAY. 

Morning passed into afternoon, and afternoon was drawing towards 
its close. Eoland Yorke had contrived to struggle through it, and 
bo alive still, in spite of the amount of work which was pressed 
upon him. Mr. Galloway had put on his spectacles and copied 
out several pages himself— a thing he rarely attempted. But he 
had gone out now, and had carried with him some letters to post. 

' Yes !' grumbled Eoland. * lie can stretch Ids legs, but he 
takes good care I shall not stretch mine ! Why couldn't he send 
mc with those letters ? It's my place to post them : it's not his. 
Write, write, write ! till my fingers have got the cramp, and my 
feet have no more feeling in them than the stool has ! Why, I 
wouldn't stop by myself in this horrid, musty, parchmented old 
place Oh, it's you, is it ?' 

This Avas addressed to the postman, who came in with the 
afternoon delivery of letters. Two : which he handed to Eoland, 
and departed. 

Of course Eoland immediately began to scrutinize them : turning 
them over ; critically guessing at the senders ; playing with them 
at pitch and toss — anything to while away the time, and afford 
him some cessation from his own work. By these means he con- 
trived to pass five minutes rather agreeably (estimating things by 
comparison), when Mr. Galloway's servant entered. 

* Is my master in, Mr. Eoland ?' 

* Of course he's not,' said Eoland. * He's gone gallavanting 
somewhere. He has all the pleasure of it, and I have all the work.* 

* Will you please to give him this letter, then ? ' said the man. 
* The post has just left it at our house, so I brought it round. 

* What's it brought round here for ?' asked Eoland. 

' Because he ordered it to be done. He said he expected a letter 
would bo delivered at the house by the afternoon post, and if it 
came I was to bring it to him at once. Good afternoon, sir.' 

This little bit of information was quite enough for Eoland. He 
seized the letter, as he had done the others, and subjected it to the 
like scrutiny. The address was written in a singular hand; ir 

9 A 9 



SCo THE CHANNINGB. 

large, printing-looking letters. Eoland satisfied his curiosity, go 
far as the outside of the letter could do it, and then rose from his 
stool and laid the three letters upon Mr. Galloway's desk in his 
private room. 

A short while, and that gentleman entered. * Anything by the 
post ?' was his first question. 

' Two letters, sir,' replied Eoland. * And John brought roim^ 
one, which was addressed to the house. He said you expected it.' 

Mr. Galloway went into his private room. He glanced casually 
at the addresses on the letters, and then called Eoland Yorke. 
' Where is the letter John brought round ?' he inquired, somewhat 
testily. 

Eoland pointed it out. * That was it, sir.' 

'That!' Mr. Galloway bent on it a keener glance, which 
probably satisfied him that it bore his private address. ' Was this 
the only one he brought?' added he ; and from his manner and 
words Eoland inferred that it was not the letter he had expected. 

* That was all, sir.' 

Eoland returned to his own room, and Mr. Galloway sat down 
and opened his letters. The first two were short communications 
relative to business ; the last was the one brought by John. 

What did it contain ? For one thing, it contained a bank-note 
for £20. But the contents? Mr. Galloway gazed at it and 
rubbed his brow, and gazed again. He took ofi^ his spectacles, and 
put them on ; he looked at the bank-note, and he read and re-read 
the letter •, for it completely upset the theory and set at nought 
the data he had been going upon ; especially the data of the last 
few hours. 

' The finder of that lost £20 note sends it back to 'Mr. Galloway. 
His motive in doing so is that the wrongly suspected may be 
cleared. He who was publicly accused of the off'encc was innocent, 
as were all others upon whom suspicion (though not acted upon) 
may have fallen. The writer of this alone took the note, and now 
he restores it.' 

Abrupt and signatureless, such was the letter. When Mr. Gallo- 
way had sufficiently overcome his surprise to reason rationally, it 
Btruck him as being a singular coincidence that this should come 
to him on the day when the old afi"air had been renewed again. 
Since its bustle had died out at the time of the occurrence, Mr. 
Galloway did not remember to have voluntarily spoken of it, until 
that morning with Eoland Yorke. 

He took up the bank-note. Was it the one actually taken — the 




THE CHANNINGS. 357 

*arao note —kept possibly, in fear, and noAV returned ? He had no 
means of knowing. He thought it was not the same. His recol- 
lection of the lost note had seemed to be that it was a dirty note, 
which must have passed through many hands ; but he had never 
been quite clear upon that point. This note was clean and crisp. 

Who had taken it ? Who had sent it back ? It entirely disposed 
of that disagreeable suspicion touching his cousin. Had his cousin 
so far forgotten himself as to take the note, he would not have been 
likely to return it : he knew nothing of the proceedings which had 
taken place in Helstonleigh, for Mr. Galloway had never mentioned 
them to him. The writer of this letter was cognizant of them, 
and had sent it that they might be removed. 

At the first glance, it of course appeared to bo proof positive that 
Arthur Channing was not guilty. But Mr. Galloway was not ac- 
customed to take only the superficial view of things : and it struck 
him, as it would strike others, that this might be, after all, a refined 
bit of finesse on Arthur's own part to remove the suspicion off" him- 
self. True, the cost of essaying it was twenty pounds : but what 
was that ; compared, in value, to the restoration of his good name ? 

The letter bore the London post-mark. There was not a doubt 
that it had been there posted. That told nothing. Arthur, or 
anybody else, could get a letter posted there, if wishing to do it : 
' Where there's a will, there's a way,' thought Mr. Galloway. But 
again, where was Arthur Channing to get twenty pounds from? 
Mr. Galloway did not think that ho could get this sum from any- 
where, or that he possessed, himself, a twentieth part of it. So 
far, the probability was against Arthur's being the author. Mr. 
Galloway quite lost himself in conjectures. Why should it have 
been addressed to his residence, and not to the oflice ? He had 
been expecting a letter from one, that afternoon, who always did 
address to his residence : and that letter, it appeared, had not 
come. However, that had nothing to do with this. Neither paper 
nor Avriting afforded any clue, and the latter was palpably dis- 
guised. 

He called in Eoland Yorke, for the purpose of putting to him a 
few useless questions— like a great many of us do when we are 
puzzled — questions, at any rate, that could throw no light upon 
the main subject. 

' What did John say when he brought this letter ?' 

* Only what I told you, sir. That you expected a letter addressed 
to the house, and ordered him to bring it round.* 

'But this is not the letter I expected,* tapping it with liis finger 



358 THE CnAWNINGS. 

and looking altogether so puzzled and astonished that Eoland st.\:cd 
in liis turn, 

'It's not my fault,' returned he. * Shall I run round, sir, and 
ask John about it ?' 

' Xo,' testily answered Mr. Galloway. 'Don't be so fond of 

running round. This letter There's somebody come into the 

office,' he broke off. 

Eoland turned with alacrity, but very speedily appeared again, 
on his best behaviour, bowing as he showed in the Dean of 
Ilclstonleigh. 

Mr. Galloway rose, and remained standing. The dean entered 
upon the business which had brought him there, a trifling matter 
connected with the affairs of the chapter. This over, Mr, Gallo- 
way took up the letter and showed it to him. The dean read it, 
and looked at the bank-note. 

' I cannot quite decide in what light I ought to take it, sir,' re- 
marked Mr. Galloway. ' It either refutes the suspicion of Arthur 
Channing's guilt, or else it confirms it.' 

' In what way confirms it? I do not understand you,' said the 
dean. 

' It my have come from himself, Mr. De{),n. A wheel within a 
wheel.' 

The dean paused to revolve the proposition, and then shook his 
head negatively. * It appears to me to go a very great way towards 
proving his innocence,' he observed. ' The impression upon my 
own mind has been, that it was not he who took it — as you may 
have inferred, Mr. Galloway, by my allowing him to retain his post 
in the cathedral.' 

' But, sir, if ho is innocent, who is guilty ?' continued Mr, Gallo- 
way, in a tone of remonstrance. 

' That is more than I can say,' replied the dean. * But for the 
circumstances appearing to point so strongly to Arthur Channing, 
I never could have suspected him at all. A son of Mr, Channing' s 
Would have been altogether above suspicion, in my mind : and, as- 
I tell you, for some time I have not believed him to be puilty.' 

• If ho is not guilty ' Mr. Galloway paused ; the full force of 

what he was about to say, pressing strongly upon his mind — ' if he 
is not guilty, Mr. Dean, there has been a great deal of injustice 
done — not only to himself ' 

' A great deal of injustice is committed every day, I fear,' quietly 
remarked the dean. 

' Tom Channing will have lost the seniorshir for nothing !' went 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 859 

on Mr. Galloway, in a perturbed voice, not so much addi'essing the 
dean, as giving vent to his thoughts aloud. 

' Yes, was the answer, spoken calmly, and imparting no token of 
what might bo the dean's private sentiments upon the point. 'You 
will see to that matter,' the dean continued, referring to his own 
business there, as he rose from his chair. 

* I will not forgot it, Mr. Dean,' said Mr. Galloway. And ho 
escorted the dean to the outer door, as was his custom when 
honoured by that dignitary with a visit, and bowed him out. 

Eoland just then looked a pattern of industry. Ho had resumed 
his seat, after rising in salutation as the dean passed through the 
office, and was writing away like a steam-engine, Mr. Galloway 
returned to his own room, and set himself calmly to consider all 
the bearings of this curious business. The great bar to his being 
able fully to regard Arthur as innocent, was the difficulty there 
existed of fixing upon anybody else as likely to have been guilty. 
Likely ! he might almost have said as possible to have been guilty. 
* I have a very great mind,' he growled to himself, 'to send for 
Butterby, and let him rake it all up again!' The uncertainty 
vexed him, and it seemed as if the affair was never to have an end. 
' What if I show Arthur Channing the letter first, and study his 
countenance as he looks at it? I may gather something from that. 
I don't fancy he'd be an over good actor, as some might be ; if he 
has sent this money, I shall see it in his face.* 

Acting upon the moment's impulse, he suddenly opened the door 
of the outer office, and there fomid that Mr. Eoland's industry had, 
for the present, come to an end. He was standing before the win- 
dow, making pantomimic signs through the glass to a friend of his, 
Knivctt. His right thumb was pointed over his shoulder towards 
the door of Mr. Galloway's private room; no doubt, to indicate a 
warning that that gentleman was inside it, and that the office, con- 
sequently, was not free for promiscuous intruders. A few sharp 
words of reprimand to Mr. Eoland ensued, and then he was sent 
off with a message to Arthur Channing. 

It brought Arthur back -svith Eoland. j\Ir. Galloway called 
Arthur into his own room, closed the door, and put the letter into 
his hand in silence. 

He read it over twice before he could comprehend it ; indeed, he 
did not do so fully then. His surprise appeared to be perfe-ctly 
genuine, and so Mr. Galloway deemed it. 'Has this letter been 
Bcnt to you sir ?' Has any money been sent to you ?' 

' This has been sent to me,' rephed Mr. Galloway, tossing to him 



360 THE CHANNINGS. 

the twenty-pound note. *Is it the one that was taken, Chan- 
nmg?' 

'How can I tell, sir?' said Arthur, in much simplicity. And 
Mr. Galloway's long doubts of him began to melt away. 

' You did not send the money — to clear your£elf ?' 

Arthur looked up in surprise. 'Where should I get twenty 
pounds from?' he asked. 'I shall have a quarter's salary from 
Mr. Williams, shortly : but it is not quite due yet. And it will not 
be twenty pounds, or anything like that amount.' 

Mr. Galloway nodded. It was the thought wliich had struck 
himself. Another thought, however, was now striking Arthur ; a 
thought which caused his check to flush and his brow to lower. 
With the word 'salary' had arisen to him the remembrance of 
another's salary, due about this time: that of his'brother Ilamish. 
Had Hamish been making this use of it — to take the stigma from 
him? The idea received additional force from Mr. Galloway's 
next words : for they bore upon the point. 

' This letter is what it pm-ports to be : a missive from the actual 
thief ; or else it comes from some well-wisher of yours, who 
sacrifices twenty pounds to do you a service. Which is it ?' 

Mr. Galloway fixed his eyes on Arthur's face and could not help 
noting the change which had come over it, over his bearing alto- 
gether. The open candour was gone : and in its place reigned the 
covert look, the hesitating manner, the confusion which had 
characterized him at the period of the loss. ' All I can say, sir, is, 
that I know nothing of this,' he presently said. ' It has surprised 
me as much as it can surprise any one.' 

' Channing !' impulsively exclaimed Mr. Galloway, ' your manner 
and your words are in opposition, as they were at the time. The 
one gives the lie to the other. But I begin to believe you did not 
take it.' 

' I did not,' returned Arthur. 

'And therefore — as I don't like to be played with and made 
sport of, like a cat tormenting a mouse — I think I shall give orders 
to Butterby for a fresh investigation.' 

It startled Arthur. The curiously significant tone of Mr. Galloway, 
his piercing gaze upon his face, also startled him. ' It would bring 
no satisfaction, sir,' he said. ' Pray do not. I would far rather 
continue to bear the blame.' 

A pause. A new idea came glimmering into the mind of Mr. 
Galloway. ' Whom are you screening ?' he asked. But he received 
no answer. 




THE CHANNINGS. 861 

* Is it Eoland Yorke ?' 

'Itoland Yorke!' repeated Arthur, half reproachfully. *No, 
indeed. I wish everybody had been as innocent of it as was Roland 
Yorke.' 

In good truth, Mr. Galloway had only mentioned Eoland's name 
as coming uppermost in his mind. He knew that there was no 
suspicion attaching to Eoland. Arthur resumed, in agitation — 

'Let the matter drop, sir. Indeed, it will bo better. It 
appears, now, that you have the money back again ; and, for the 
rest, I am willing to take the blame, as I have done.' 

* If I have the money back again, I have not other things back 
again,' crossly repeated Mr. Galloway. ' There's the loss of time 
it has occasioned, the worry, the uncertainty : who is to repay mo 
all that ?' 

' My portion in it has been worse than yours, sir,' said Arthur, in 
a low, deep tone. ' Think of my loss of time ; my worry and 
uncertainty ; my waste of character ; my anxiety of mind : they can 
never be repaid to me.' 

' And whose the fault? If you were truly innocent, you might 
have cleared yourself with a word.' 

Arthur knew ho might. But that word he had not dared to 
speak. At this juncture, Eoland Yorke appeared. ' Here's 
Jenner's old clerk come in, sir,' said he to his master. * He wants 
to see yourself, he says.' 

' lie can come in,' replied Mr. Galloway. ' Are you getting on 
with that copying ?' he added to Arthur, as the latter was going out. 

' Yes, sir.' 

The gentleman, whom Eoland Yorke designated as ' Jenner's 
old clerk,' was shut in with Mr. Galloway; and Eoland, who 
appeared to be on the thorns of curiosity, arrested Arthui'. 

' I say, what is it that's agate ? He has been going into fits, 
pretty near, over some letter that came, asking me five hundred 
questions about it. What have you got to do with it ? What docs 
lie want with you ?' 

' Somebody has been sending him the money back, Eoland« It 
came in a letter.* 

Eoland opened his eyes. * What money ?' 

' The money that was lost. A twenty-pound note has come. He 
asked me whether it was the veritable note that was taken.' 

*■ A twenty-pound note come !' repeated puzzled Eoland. 

' It's true Eoland. It purports to be sent by the taker of the 
money for the purpose of clearing me.' 



oG2 THE CHAXNTNGS. 

Ivoland stood for a few moments, j)rofound surprise on his face, 
and then began to execute a hornpipe of triumph amid the desks 
and stools of the o,ffice. ' I said it would come right some time ; 
over and over again I did ! Give us your hand, old fellow ! He's 
not such a bad trump after all, that thief !' 

' Hush, Roland ! you'll be heard. It may not do me much good. 
Galloway seems to doubt me still.' 

' Doubt you still !' cried Eoland, stopping short in his dance, and 
speaking in a very explosive tone. ' Doubt you still \ Why, what 
would he have .?' 

' I don't know,' sighed Arthur. ' I have assured him I did not 
send it, but he fancies I may have done it to whiten myself. He 
talks of calling in Butte'rby again.' 

' My opini*- u then, is, that he wants to be transported, if he is to 
turnup such a heathen as that !' stamped Eoland. ' What would ho 
have, I ask ? Another twenty, given him for interest ? Arthur, 
dear old fellow, let's go off together to Port Natal, and leave hira 
and his office to it ! I'll find the means, if I rob his cash-box to 
get them !' 

But Arthur was already beyond hearing, having waved his adieu 
to Roland Yorke and his impetuous but warm-hearted championship. 
Anxious to get on with the task he had undertaken, he hastened 
home. Constance was in the hall when ho entered, having just 
returned from Lady Augusta Yorke's. 

His confidant throughout, his gentle soother and supporter, his 
ever ready adviser, Arthur drew her into one of the rooms, and 
acquainted her with what had occurred. A look of terror rose to 
her face, as she listened. 

' Hamish has done it 1' she uttered, in a whisper. * This puts all 
doubt at an end. There are times — there have been times ' — she 
burst into tears as she spoke — ' when I have fondly tried to cheat 
myself that we were suspecting him wrongfully. Arthur ! others 
suspect him.' 

Arthur's face caught the same look that was upon hers. ' I trust 
not!' 

' But they do. Ellen Huntley has dropped an inadvertent word, 
which convinces me he is in some way doubted there. She caught 
it up again in evident alarm, ere it was well spoken ; and I dared 
not jjursue the subject. It is Hamish who has sent this money.' 

'You speak confidently, Constance.' 

'Listen. I know that he has drawn money — papa's salary and 
bis own : he mentioned it incidentally. A few days ago I asked 






THE CHANNINGS. 363 

him for money for housekeeping purposes, and lie handed me a 
twenty-pound note, in mistake for a five-pound. He discovered 
the mistake before I did, and snatched it back again in some con- 
fusion. "I cant give you that," he said in a laughing manner,, 
vhcn he recovered himself. " That has a different destination.** 
Arthur ! that note, rely upon it, was going to Mr. Galloway.' 

* When was this ?' asked Arthur. 

*La6t week. Three or four days ago.' 

Trifling as the incident was, it seemed to bear out their sus- 
picions, and Arthur could only come to the same conclusion that 
his sister did : the thought had already crossed him, you remember. 
'Do not let it pain you thus, Constance,' ho said, for her tears 
were falling fast. ' He may not call in Butterby. Your gi'ieving 
will do no good.' 

' I cannot help it,' she exclaimed, with a burst of anguish. * How 
God is trying us !' 

Ay ! like as the silver, which must bo seven times purified, cro 
it be sufficiently refined. 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

DARK CLOUDS. 

Constance Cjiaxnixg sat, her forehead buried in her hands. 
How God was trying them I The sentence, wrung from her in the 
T5fR;"erhess of her heart, but expressed the echo of surrounding 
things. Her o^vn future blighted ; Arthur's character gone ; Tom 
lost the seniorship ; Charley not heard of, dead or alive ! There 
were moments, and this was one, when Constance felt almost 
beyond the pale of hope. The college school, meanwhile, existed 
in a state of constant suspense, the sword of terror ever hanging 
over its head. Punishment for the present was reserved; and 
what the precise punishment would be when it came, none could 
tell. Talkative Bywater was fond of saying that it did not matter 
whether Miss Charley turned up or not, so far as their backs were 
concerned : they would be made to tingle, either way. 

Arthur, after communicating to Constance the strange fact of 
the return of the money to Mr. Galloway, shut himself up in the 
study to pursue his copying. The tea hour arrived, and Sarah 
brought in the things. But neither Hamish nor Tom had come in 
and Constance sat alone, deep in her unpleasant thoughts. 



364 THE CHANNINQS. 

That it was Hamisli who had now returned the money to Mr. 
Galloway, Constance could not entertain the slightest doubt. It 
had a very depressing effect upon her. It could not render worse 
what had previously happened : indeed, it rather mended it, inso- 
much as that it served to evince some repentance, some good 
feeling; but it made the suspicion against Hamish a certainty; 
and there had been times when Constance had been beguiled into 
thinking it only a suspicion. And now came this new fear of Mr. 
Buttcrby again ! 

Hamish's own footstep in the hall. Constance roused herself. 
He came in, books under his arm, as usual, and his ever gay face 
smiling. There were times when Constance nearly despised him 
for his perpetual sunshine. The seriousness which had overspread 
Hamish at the time of Charley's disappearance had nearly worn 
away. In his sanguine temperament, he argued that the not 
finding the corpse was a proof that Charley was alive yet, and 
would come forth in a mysterious manner one of these days. 

'Have I kept you waiting tea, Constance?' began he. * I came 
home by way of Close Street, and was called into Galloway's by 
Roland Yorke, and then got detained further by Mr. Galloway. 
Where's Arthur ?' 

* He has undertaken some copying for Mr Galloway, and is busy 
with it,' replied Constance in a low tone. ' Hamish !' raising her 
eyes to his face, as she took resolution to speak of the affair, ' have 
you heard what has happened ?' 

'That some benignant fairy has forwarded a bank-note to 
Galloway on the wings of the telegraph? Roland Yorke would 
not allow me to remain in ignorance of that. Mr. Galloway did 
me the honour to ask whether I had sent it.' 

' You !' uttered Constance, regarding the avowal only from her 
own point of view. * He asked whether you had sent it ?' 

' He did.' 

She gazed at Hamish as if she would read his very soul. * A nd 
what did — what did you answer?' 

* Told him I wished a few others would suspect me of the same, 
and count imaginary payments for real ones. 

' Hamish !' she exclaimed, the complaint WTung from her, ' how 
can you be so light, so cruel, Avhen our hearts are breaking?' 

Hamish, in turn, was surprised at this. ' I, cruel ! In what 
manner, Constance? My dear, I repeat to you that we shall 
have Charley back. I feel sure of it ; and it has done away with 
my fear. Some inward conviction, or instinct — you may call ii 



THE CDANNIXaS. 3G5 

wliich you like— tells me that we shall ; and I implicitly trust tc 
it. We need not mourn for him.' 

'It is not for Charley: I do not speak of Charley now,' she 
sadly reiterated. ' You are straying from the point. Ilamish 
have you 7io love left for Arthur ?' ' 

' I have plenty of love for everybody,' said Mr. Hamish. 

' Then Jiow can you behave like this ? Arthur is not guilty ; you 
know he is not. And look what he has to bear ! I believe you 
would laugh at the greatest calamity ! The sending back this 
money to Mr. Galloway has— has— sadly distressed me.' 

Hamish turned his smiling eyes upon her, but his tone was 
gi-ave. ^Wait until some great calamity occurs, Constance, and 
then see whether I laugh. Did I laugh that dreadful night and 
day that succeeded to tlie loss of Charley? The sending back tlie 
money to Mr. Galloway is not a cause for sadness. It most 
certainly exonerates Arthur.' 

' And you are gay over it 1' She would have given anything to 
speak more plainly. 

'I am particularly gay this afternoon,' acknowledged Ilamish, 
who could not be put out of temper by any amount of reproach ' 
whatever. ' 1 have had great news by the post, Constance.' 

' From Germany ?' she quickly cried. 

' Yes, from Germany,' he answered, taking a letter from hie 
pocket, and spreading it open before Constance. 
^ It contained the bravest news ; great news, as Hamish expressed 
It. It was from Mr. Channing himself, and it told them that he 
was so far restored that there wa-s no doubt now of his being 
able to resume his own place at his ofifice. They intended to be 
home the first week in November. The weather at Borcette con- 
tinued warm and charming, and they would prolong their stay 
there to the full time contemplated, and enjoy the benefit of it. 
It had been a fine autumn everywhere. There was a postscript 
added to the letter, as if an afterthought had occurred to Mr. 
Channmg. 'When you see Mr. Huntley, tell him how well I am 
progi-essmg. I remember, by the way, that he hinted at being 
ahle to mtroduco you to something, should I no longer require 
you m Guild Street.' 

In the glad delight that the news brought, Constance lost sight 
partially of her sadness. ' It is not all gloom,' she whispered to 
lierself. * If we could but dwell on God's mercies as we do on his 
chastisement ; if we could but feel more trust, wc should see the 
bright side of the cloud oftcncr than than we do.' 



866 THE CHANNINGS. 

Tint it ivas dark ; dark in many ways, and Constance was soon 
to be reminded again of it forcibly. She had taken her seat at tho 
tea-table, when Tom came in. He looked flushed — stern ; and he 
Hung his Gradus, and one or two other books in a lump, on the 
fcide table, with more force than was necessary ; and himself into a 
chair, ditto. 

* Constance, I shall leave the school I' 

Constance, in her dismay, dropped the sugar-tongs amidst llio 
sugar. 'What, Tom.?' 

' I shall leave the school !' he repeated, his tone as fiery as his 
l\ice. ' I'd not stop in it another month, if I were bribed with 
gold. Things are getting too bad there.' 

' Oh, Tom, Tom ! Is this your endurance?' 

'Endurance!' he exclaimed. 'That's a nice word in theory, 
Constance ; but just you try it in practice ! Who has endured, if 
I have not ? I thought I'd go on and endure it, as yon say ; at 
any rate, until papa came home. But I can't — T can't !' 

' What has happened more than usual ?' inquired Hamish. 

' It gets worse and worse,' said Tom, turning his blazing face 
upon his brother. ' I'd not v/ish a dog to live the life that I live 
in the college school. They call me a felon, and treat me as one ; 
they send me to Coventry ; they won't knowledge me as one o\ 
their seniors. My position is unbearable.' 

' Live it doAm, Tom,' said Hamish quietly. 

' Haven't I been trying to live it down?' returned the boy, sup- 
jiressing his emotion. ' It has lasted now these two months, and 
I have borne it daily. At the time of Charley's loss I was treated 
better for a .day or two, but that has worn away. It is of no use 
your looking at me reproachfully, Constance; I must complain. 
What other boy in the world has ever been put down as I ? I was 
the head of the school, next to Gaunt ; looking forward to be the 
head; and what am I now? The seniorship taken from me in 
shame ; Huntley exalted to my place ; my chance of the exhibition 
gone ' 

'Huntley does not take the exhibition,' interrupted Constance. 

' But Yorke will. J shan't be allowed to get it. Now I know it, 
Constance, and the school knows it. Let a fellow once go down, 
and he's kept do^\Ti : every dog has a fling at him. The seniorship's 
gone, the exhibition is going. I might bear that tamely, you may 
say ; and of course I might, for they are negative evils ; but what 
I can't and won't bear, arc the insults of every-day life. Only thia 
afternoon tkey ' 



THE CIIANNINGS. 367 

Tom stopped, for his feelings were choking him ; and the com 
plaint he was about to relate was never spoken. Before he had 
gathered breath and calmness, Arthur entered and took his seat at 
the tea-table. Poor Tom, allowing one of his unfortunate explo- 
sions of temper to get the better of him, sprung from his chau: and 
burst forth with a passionate reproach to Arthur, whom he regarded 
as the author of all the ill, 

* Why did you do it ? Why did you bring this disgrace upon us ? 
But for you, I should not have lost caste in the school.' 

* Tom !' interposed Hamish, in a severe tone. 

Mr. Tom, brave college boy that he was— manly as he coveted to 
be deemed — actually burst into tears. Tears called forth, not by 
contrition, I fear ; but by remembered humiliation, by vexation, by 
the moment's passion. Never had Tom cast a reproach openly to 
Arthur; whatever he may have felt he buried it within himself : 
but that his opinion vacillated upon the point of Arthur's guilt, was 
certain. Constance went up to him and laid her hand gently and 
soothingly upon his shoulder. 

' Tom, dear boy, your troubles arc making you forget yourself. 
Bo not be unjust to Arthur. He is innocent as you.' 

' Then if he is innocent, why does he not speak out like a man, 
and proclaim his innocence?' retorted Tom, sensibly enough, but 
with rather too much heat. ' That's what the school cast in my 
teeth, more than anything again. " Don't preach up your brother's 
innocence to us!" they cry; "if he did not take it, wouldn't ho 
say so ?" Look at Arthur now ' — and Tom pointed his finger at 
him — 'he does not, even here, to me, assert that he is innocent 1' 

Arthur's face burnt under the reproach. He turned it upon 
Hamish, with a gesture almost as fiery, quite as hasty, as any that 
had been vouchsafed them by Tom. Plainly as look could speak, 
it said, ' Will you suffer this injustice to be heaped upon me ?' Con- 
stance saw the look, and she quitted Tom with a faint cry, and 
bent over Arthur, afraid of what truth ho might give utter- 
ance to. 

' Patience yet, Arthur !' she whispered. ' Do not let a moment's 
anger undo the work of weeks. Eemember how bravely you have 
borne.' 

* Ay ! Heaven forgive my pride ! Tom, Arthur added, turning to 
him calmly ; ' I would clear you — or rather clear myself— in the 
eyes of the school, if I could: but it is impossible. However, you 
have less to blame me for than you may deem.* 

Hamish advanced. He caught the arm of Tom and drew him to 



858 THE CHAXNINGS. 

a distant window. 'Now, lad,' Le said, * let me hear all about tl'.is 
bugbear. I'll see if it can be in any way lightened for you.' 

Hamish's tone was kindly, his manner frank and persuasive, and 
Tom was won over to speak of his troubles. Hamish listened with 
an attentive car. ' Will you abide by my advice ?' he asked him, 
when the catalogue of grievances had come to an end. 

'Perhaps I Mill,' replied Tom, who was growing cool after his 
heat. 

* Then, as I said to you before, so I say now — Live it duicn. It is 
the best advice I can give you.' 

' Hamish, you dont know what it is !' 

'Yes, I do. I can enter into your trials and annoyances as 
keenly as if I had to encounter them. I do not affect to disparage 
them to you : I know that they are real trials, real insults ; but if 
you will only make up your mind to bear them, they will lose half 
their sharpness. Your interest lies in remaining in the college 
school : more than that, your duty lies in it. Tom, don't let it bo 
said that a Channing shrunk from his duty because it brought him 
difficulties.' 

'I don't think I can stop in it, Hamish. I'd rather sfand in a 
pillory and have rotten eggs splashed at me.' 

' Yes, you can. In fact, my boy, for the present you must. Dis- 
obedience has never been a fault among us, and I am sure you will 
not be the one to inaugurate it. Your father left me in charge, in 
his place, with full control ; and I cannot sanction any such mea- 
sure as that of your quitting the school. In less than a month's time 
he will be home, and you can then submit the case to him, and abide 
by his advice.' 

With all Tom's faults, he was not rebellious, neither was he un- 
reasonable ; and he made up his mind, not without some grumbling, 
to do as Hamish desired him. He drew his chair with a jerk to 
the tea-table, which of course there was no necessity for. I told 
you that the young Channings, admirably as they had been brought 
up, had their faults ; like you have yours, and I have mine. 

It was a silent meal. Annabel, who was wont to keep them alive, 
whatever might be their troubles, had remained to take tea at Lady 
Augusta Yorke's, with Caroline and Fanny. Had Constance known 
that she was in the habit of thoughtlessly chattering upon any sub- 
ject tnat came uppermost, including poor Charles's propensity to 
be afraid of ghosts, she had allowed her to remain with them more 
charily. Hamish took a book and read, eating his bread and butter 
absently. Arthur only made a show of taking anything, and soou 



THE CnANNINGS. 3G3 

left them, to resume his employment; Tom did uot even make a 
show of it, but unequivocally rejected all good things. ' IIow could 
he 1)0 hungry?' he asked, when Constance pressed him. An un- 
social meal it was — as unpleasant nearly as were their inward 
thouglits. They felt for Tom, in the midst of their graver griefs ; 
but they were all at cross purposes together, and they knew it; 
therefore they could only retain an uncomfortable reticence one 
with another. Tom laid the blame to the share of Arthur ; Arthur 
and Constance to the share of Hamish. To whom Hamish laid it, 
was only known to himself. 

lie, Hamish, rose as the tea-things were carried away. He was 
preparing for a visit to Mr. Huntley's. His visits there, as already 
remarked, had not been frequent of late. He had discovered that 
he was not welcome to Mr. Huntley. And Hamish Channing was 
not one to thrust his company upon any one : even the attraction 
of Ellen could not induce that. But it is very probable that he 
was glad of the excuse Mr. Channing's letter afforded him to go 
thither now. 

He found Miss Huntley alone ; a tall, stiff lady, who always 
looked as if she were cased in whalebone. She generally regarded 
Hamish with some favour, which was saying a great deal for Miss 
Huntley. 

' You are quite a stranger here,' she remarked to him as he entered. 

' I think I am,' replied Hamish. ' Mr. Huntley is still in the 
dining-room, T hear?' 

' Mr. Huntley is,' said the lady, speaking as if the fact did not 
give her pleasure, though Hamish could not conceive for why. 
' My niece has chosen to remain with him,' she added, in a tone 
which denoted dissatisfaction. * I am quite tired of talking to her ! 
I tell her this is proper, and the other is improper, and she goes 
and mixes up my advice together in the most extraordhiary way ; 
leaving alone what she ought to do, and doing what I tell her she 
ought not! Only this very morning I read her a sermon upon 
" Propriety, and the fitness of things." It took me just an hour — an 
hour by my watch, I assure you, Mr. Hamish Channing !— and 
wliat is the result? I retired from the dinner-table precisely ten 
minutes after the removal of the cloth, according to my invariable 
custom ; and Ellen, in defiance of my warning her that it is not 
lady-like, stays there behind me ! "I have not eaten my grapes 
yet, aunt," she says to me. And there she stays, just to talk with 
her father. And he encourages her ! What will become of Ellea 
I cannot imagine ; she will never be a lady !' 



870 THE CHANNINGS. 

* It's very sad V replied Hamisb, coiigliiug down a langli, and 
putting on the gravest face he could call up. 

*Sad!' repeated Miss Huntley, who sat perfectly upright, lier 
hands, cased in mittens, crossed upon her lap. ' It is grievous, Mr. 
Ilamish Channing ! She — what do you think she did only yester- 
day ? One of our maids was going to be married, and a dispute, or 
some unpleasantness occurred between her and the intended hus- 
band. Would you believe that Ellen actually -vATote a letter for 
the girl (a poor ignorant thing, who never learnt to read, let alone 
to write, but an excellent servant) to this man, that things might 
be smoothed between them? My niece, Miss Ellen Huntley, low- 
ering herself to write a— a — I can scarcely allow my tongue to 
utter the word, Mr. Hamish — a love-letter 1' 

Miss Huntley lifted her eyes, and her mittens. Hamish expressed 
himself inexpressibly shocked, inwardly wishing he could ^et Miss 
Ellen Huntley to write a few to him. 

* And I get no sympathy from any one !' pursued Miss Huntley. 
' None I I spoke to my brother, and he could not see that she had 
done anything wrong in writing : or pretended that he could not. 
Oh, dear ! how things are altered from what they were when I was 
a young girl ! Then ' 

' My master says, will you please to walk into the dining-room, 
sir ?' interrupted a servant at this juncture. And Hamish rose and 
followed him. 

Mr. Huntley was alone. Hamish threw his glance to the various 
parts of the room, but Ellen was not in it. The meeting was not 
very cordial on Mr. Huntley's side. ' What can I do for you ?' he 
inquired, as he shook hands. Which was suflBcient to imply coldly, 
* You must have come to my house for some particular purpose. 
What is it?' 

But Hamish could not lose his sunny temperament, his winning 
manner. ' I bring you great news, Mr. Huntley. We have heard 
from Borcette : and the improvement in my father's health is so 
great, that all doubts as to the result are over.' 

' I said it would be so,' replied Mr. Huntley. 

Some little time they continued talking, and then Hamish 
mentioned the matter alluded to in the postscript of the letter. 
' Is it correct that you will be able to help me to something,' he 
inquired, ' when my father shall resume his own place in Guild 
Street !' 

' It is correct that I told your father so,' answered Mr. Huntley. 
I thought then that I could.* 




THE CHANNINGS. 371 

And is tlic situation gone? I assume that it was a situation.' 

* 1 1 is not gone. The post will not bo vacant until the beginning 
Df the year. Have you heard that there is to be a change in the 
joint-stock bank ?' 

* No,' replied Hamish, looking up with much interest. 

' Mr. Bartlett leaves. He is getting in years, his health is failing 
him, and he wishes to retire. As one of the largest shareholders 
in the bank, I shall possess the largest voice in the appointment of 
a successor, and I had thought of you. Indeed, I have no objection 
to say that there is not the slightest doubt you would have been 
appointed ; otherwise, I should not have spoken confidently to Mr. 
Channing.' 

It was an excellent post ; there was no doubt of that. The 
bank was not an extensive one; it was not the principal bank of 
Helstonleigh ; but it was a firmly established, thoroughly respect- 
able concern ; and Mr. Bartlett, who had been its manager for 
iTsapy years, enjoyed desirable privileges, and a handsome salaiy^ 
A far larger salary than was Mr. Channing's. The dwelling-house, 
a good one, attached to the bank, was used as his residence, and 
would be, when he left, the residence of his successor. 

' i should like it of all things !' cried ITamish. 

* So would many a one, young sir, who is in a better position than 
you,' drily answered Mr. Huntley. ' I thought you might have 
filled it.' 

* Can I not, sir ?* 
' No.' 

Hamish did not expect the answer. He looked inquiringly at 
Mr. Huntley. * Why can I not V 
' Because I cannot now recommend you to it,' was the reply. 

* But why not ?' exclaimed Hamish. 

* When I spoke of you as becoming Mr. Bartlett's successor, I 
believed you would be found worthy to fulfil his duties.' 

' I can fulfil them,' said Hamish. 

Possibly. But so much doubt has arisen upon that point in my 
)wn mind, that I can no longer recommend you for it. In fact, I 
mid not sanction your appointment.' 
' What have I done ?' inquired Hamish. 

' Ask your conscience. If that does not tell you plainly enough, 
' shall not.' 

My conscience accuses me of nothing that need render me unfit 
to fill the post, and to perfonn my duties in it, Mr. Huntley.' 

* I think otherwise. But, to pursue the subject will be yn-o- 

^ B 2 



372 - THE CHANNINGS. 

ductive of no benefit, so we will let it drop. I would have secured 
you the appointment, could I have done so conscientiously, but I 
cannot ; and the matter is at an end.' 

'At least you can tell me why you will not?' said Hamish^ 
speaking with some sarcasm, in the midst of his respect. 

' I have already declined. Ask your o^vn conscience, Hamish.' 

' The worst criminal has a right to know his accusation, Mr. 
Huntley. Otherwise ho cannot defend himself.' 

' It will be time enough for you to defend yourself when you are 
publicly accused. I shall say no more upon the point. I am sorry 
your father mentioned the thing to you, necessitating this expla- 
nation, so far ; I have also been sorry for having ever mentioned it 
to him. My worst explanation will be with your father, for I can- 
not enter into cause and effect, any more than I can to you.' 

* I have for some little time been conscious of a change in your 
mind towards me, Mr. Huntley.' 

' Ay — no doubt.' 

' Sir, you ought to tell mo what has caused it. I might explain 
away any prejudice or wrong impression ' 

*■ There, that will do,' interrupted Mr. Huntley. * It is neither 
prejudice nor wrong impression that I have taken up. And now I 
have said the last word upon the matter that I shall say.' 

' But, sir ' 

' No more, I say !' peremptorily inteiTupted Mr. Huntley. ' The 
subject is over. Let us talk of other tilings. I need not ask 
whether you have news of poor Charley ; you would have informed 
me of that at once. You sec, I was right in advising silence to be 
kept towards them. All this time of suspense would have told 
badly on Mr. Channing.' 

Hamish rose to leave. He had done little good it appeared, by 
his visit ; certainly, ho could not wish to prolong it. ' There was 
an unsealed scrap of paper slipped inside my father's letter,' he 
said. ' It was from my mother to Charley. This is it.' 

It appeared to have been written hastily — perhaps from a sudden 
thought at the moment of Mr. Channing's closing his letter. Mr. 
Huntley took it in his hand. 

" My dear little Charley : — 

' How is it you do not write to mamma ? Not a message from 
you ixow : not a letter ! I am sure you are not forgetting me.' 

* Poor boy !' exclaimed Mr. Huntley, handing it back to Hami^l^ 
Poor mother !' 



THE CHANNINGS. 373 

* I did not show it to Constance,' observed Hamisli. * It would 
only distress her. Good night, sir. By the way,' added Ilamish, 
turning as he reached the door, * Mr. Galloway has got that money 
back again.' 

' What money V cried Mr. Huntley. 

* That which was lost. A twenty-pound note came to him in a 
letter by this afternoon's post. The letter states that Arthur, and 
all others who may have been accused, are innocent.' 

' Oh, indeed !' cried Mr. Huntley, with cutting sarcasm, as tho 
conviction flashed over him that Hamish, and no other, had been 
the sender. ' The thief has come to his senses at last, has he ? So 
far as to render lame justice to Arthur.' 

Hamisli left the room. The hall had not yet been lighted, and 
Hamish could hardly see the outline of a form, crossing it from the 
staircase to the drawing-room. Tie knew whose it was, and he 
caught hold of it. 

* Ellen,' he whispered, 'what has turned your ftither against me ?' 
Of course she could not enlighten him ; she could not say to 

Ilamish Channing, ' He suspects you of being a thief.' Her whole 
spirit would have revolted from that, as much as it did from the 
accusation. The subject was a painful one ; she was flurried at the 
sudden meeting — the stealthy meeting, it may be said ; and — she 
burst into tears. 

I am quite afraid to say what Mr. Hamisli did, this being a sober 
story. When he left the hall, Ellen Huntley's checks were 
glowing, and certain sweet words w^ere ringing changes on her 
ears. 

* Ellen ! they shall never take you from me !' 



CHAPTEE XLYIII. 

MUFFINS FOR TEA. 



A WEEK or two passed by, and November was rapidly approaching. 
Things remained precisely as they were at the close of tho last 
chapter : nothing fresh had occurred ; no change had taken place. 
Tom Channing's remark, though much cannot be said for its 
elegance, was indisputable in point of truth — that when a fellow 
was down, he was kept down, and every dog had a fling at him. It 
was being exemplified in the case of Arthur. The money, so 
mysteriously convey ed to Mr. Galloway, had proved of little 



871 TUB CHANNINGS. 

eervice towards clearing him; in fact, it had the contrary effect 
and people openly expressed their opinion that it had come froai 
himself or his friends. He was down ; and it would take more 
than that to Hft him up again. Mi'. Galloway kept his thoughts to 
himself, or had put them into his cash-box with the note, for he 
said nothing. Eoland Yorke did not imitate his example ; he was 
nearly as explosive over the present matter as he had been over 
the loss. It would have pleased him that Arthm* should be 
announced innocent by public proclamation. Eoland was in a 
most explosive frame of mind on another score, and that was the 
confinement to the office. In reality, he was not overworked ; for 
Arthur managed to get through a good amount of it at his home, 
which he took in regularly, morning after morning, to Mr, Gallo- 
way. Eoland, however, thought he was, and liis dissatisfaction 
was becoming unbearable. I do not think that Eoland could have 
done a hard day's work. To sit steadily to it for only a couple of 
hours appeared to be an absolute impossibility to his restless 
temperament. He must look off; he must talk; he must yawn ; he 
must tilt his stool ; he must take a slight interlude at balancing 
tiie ruler on his nose, or at other similar recreative and intellectual 
amusements; but, apply himself in earnest, ho could not. 
Therefore there was little fear of Mr. Eoland's being overcome 
with the amount of work. But what told upon Eoland was the 
confinement — I don't mean upon his health, you know, but his 
temper. It had happened many a day since Jenkins's absence, 
that Eoland had never stu-red from the office, except to get his 
dinner. He must be there in good time in the morning— at the 
frightfully early hour of nine — and he often did not get released till 
six. When he went to his dinner at one, Mr. Galloway would say, 
You must be back in half an hour, Yorke ; I may have to go out.' 
Once or twice he had not gone to his dinner till two or three o'clock, 
and then he was half-dead with hunger. All this chafed poor 
Eoland nearly beyond endurance : had he been a bottle of soda- 
water, he would have gone off with a burst. 

Another cause was rendering Eoland's life not the most peaceful 
one. He was beginning to be seriously dunned for money. Care- 
less in that, as he was in other things, improvident as was ever 
Lady Augusta, Eoland rarely paid till he was compelled. A very 
good hand was he at contracting debts, but a bad one at liquidating 
them. Eoland did not intend to be dishonest. Were all his 
creditors standing around him, and a roll of bank-notes before 
*iim, he would freely have paid the lot ; very probably, in his open- 



THE CHANNINGS. 375 

iieartedness, ha^e made each creditor a present, over and above, 
for ' liis trouble.' But, failing the roll of notes, he only staved off 
the difficulties in the best way he could, and grew cross and ill- 
tempered on being applied to. His chief failing was his impulsive 
thoughtlessness. Often, when he had teased or worried Lady 
Augusta out of money, to satisfy a debt for which he was being 
pressed, that very money would be expended in some passing 
folly, arising with the impulse of the moment, before it had had 
time to reach the creditor. There are too many like Eoland 
Yorko. 

Eoland was late in the office one Monday evening, he and a lamp 
sharing it between them. He was in a terrible temper, and sat 
kicking his feet on the floor, as if the noise, for it might be heard 
in the street, would while away the time. He had nothing to do ; 
the writing he had been about was positively finished ; but he had 
to stop in, waiting for Mr. Galloway, who was absent, but had not 
left the office for the evening. He would have given the whole 
world to take the pipe out of his pocket and begin t;o smoke ; but 
that pastime was so firmly forbidden in the office, that even 
Eoland dared not disobey. 

' There goes six of 'em !' he uttered, as the near cathedi'al clock 
rang out the hour, and his boots threatened to stave in the floor. 
If I stand this life much longer, I'll be shot ! It's enough to tako 
/he spirit out of a fellow ; to wear his flesh off" his bones ; to afflict 
liim with nervous fever. What an idiot I was to let my lady 
mother put mo here! Better have stuck to those musty old 
lessons at school, and gone in for a parson ! Why can't Jenkins 
get well, and come back ? He's shirking it, that's my belief. And 
r.'hy can't Galloway get Arthur back ? He might, if he pressed it ! 
Talk of solitary confinement driving prisoners riad, at their 
precious model prisons, what else is this ? I wish I could go mad 
for a week, if old Galloway might be punished for it ! It's worse 
than any prison, this office ! At four o'clock he went out, and now 
it's six, and I have not had a blessed soul put his nose inside the 
door to say, "How are ye getting on?" I'm a regular prisoner, 
and nothing else. Why doesn't he put shackles on my legs ? Why 
doesn't he ' 

The complaint was cut short by the entrance of Mr. Galloway 
Unconscious of the rebellious feelings of his clerk, he passed 
through the office to his own room, Eoland's rat-tat-to having 
ceased at his appearance. To find Eoland drumming on the floor 
with his feet, was nothing unusual — rather moderate for him ; Mr. 



876 THE CHANNINGS. 

Galloway ^(ad found Lim doing it with his head. Two or tlire^ 
minutes elapsed, and Mr. Galloway came out again. 

* You can shut up, Eoland. And then, take these letters to the 
post. Put the desks straight first ; what a mess you get them in . 
Is that will engrossed ?' 

* Yes, sir.' 

' Very well ! Be here in time in the morning. Good-night.' 

* Good-night, sir,' responded Eoland. ies! it's all very fine,* 
he went on, as he opened the desks, and shoved everything in witli 
his two hands, indiscriminately, en masse, which was his way of 
putting things straight. * *' Be here in time 1" Of course ! No 
matter what time I am let off the previous evening. If I stand 
this long ^ 

Eoland finished his sentence by an emphatic turn of the key of 
the office-door, which expressed quite as much as words could have 
done ; for he was already out of the room, his hat on his head, and 
the letters in his hand. Calling out lustily for the housekeeper, he 
flung the key to her, and bounded ofi" in the direction of the post- 
office. 

His way lay past Mrs. Jenkins's shop, which the maid had, for 
the hour, been left to attend to. She was doing it from a leaf taken 
out of Eoland's own book — standing outside the door, and gazing all 
ways. It suddenly struck Eoland that he could not do better than 
pay Jenkins a visit, just to ascertain how long he meant to absent 
himself. In he darted, with his usual scant hesitation, and went 
on to the parlour. There was no hurry for the letters ; the post 
did not close till nine. 

The little parlour, dark by day, looked veiy comfortable noAv 
A bright fire, a bright lamp, and a well-spread tea-table, at which 
Mrs. Jenkins sat ; more comfortable than Jenkins himself did, who 
lay back in his easy chair, white and wan, meekly enjoying a 
lecture from his wife. He started from it at the appearance of 
Eoland, bowing in his usual humble fashion, and smiling a glad 
smile of welcome. 

' I say, Jenkins, I have come to know how long yor mean to 
leave us to ourselves .?' was Eoland's greeting. ' It's too bad, you 
know. How d'ye do, Mrs. Jenkins.'^ Don't you look snug here? 
It's a nasty cutting night, and I have got to tramp all the way to 
the post-office.' 

Free and easy Eoland drew a chair forward on the opposite side 
of the hearth to Jenkins, Mrs. Jenkins and her good things being 
In the middle, and warmed his hands over the blaze. ' Ugh !' he 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 377 

gbivercd, ' T can't bear tlieso keen, easterly winds. It's fine to be 
you, Jenkins ! basking by a blazing fire, and junketing upon plates 
of buttered muffins !' 

* Would you please to condescend to take a cup of tea with us, 
sir ?' ^yas Jenkins's answer. ' It is just ready.' 

' I don't care if I do,' said Roland. ' There's nothing I like 
better than buttered muffins. We get them sometimes at home ] 
but there's so many to eat at our house, that before a plate is -vvell 
in, a dozen hands are snatching at it, and it's emptied. Lady 
Augusta knows no more of comfort than a cow, and luill have the 
wliole tribe of young ones in to meals.' 

'You'll find these muffins different from what you get at home,' 
said Mrs. Jenkins, in her curt, snappish, but really not inhospitable 
way, as she handed the muffins to Roland. ' I know what it is 
when things are left to servants, as* they arc at your place ; they 
turn out uneatable— soddened things, with rancid butter piit on 
'cm, nine times out of ten, instead of good, wholesome fresh. 
Servants' cooking won't do for Jenkins now, and it never did 
for me.' 

'These are good, though!' exclaimed Roland, eating away with 
intense satisfaction. ' Have you got any more down-stairs ? Mrs. 
Jenkins, don't I wish you could always toast muffins for me ! Is 
that some ham '?' 

His eyes had caught a small dish of ham, in delicate slices, put 
there to tempt poor Jenkins. But he was growing beyond such 
tempting now, for his appetite wholly failed him. It was upon 
this point he had been undergoing Mrs. Jenkins's displeasure when 
Roland interrupted them. The question led to an excellent oppor- 
tunity for the renewing of the grievance, and she was too persistent 
a diplomatist to let it slip. Catching hold of the dish, and leaving 
her chair, she held it out underneath the eyes of Roland. 

' Young Mr. Yorke, do you see anything the matter with that 
ham? Please to tell 11:0.' 

I see that it looks uncommon good,' replied Roland. 

'Do you hear?' sharply ejaculated Mrs. Jenkins, turning snort 
round upon her husband. 

' My dear, I never said a word but what it was good ; I never 
had any other thought,' returned he, with deprecation. * I only 
said that I could not eat it. I can't — indeed, I can't ! My appetite 
is gone.' 

Mrs. Jenkins put the dish down upon the table with a jerk. 
' That's how he goes on,' said she to Roland. * It's enough to wear 



378 THE CHAInND^GS. 

a woman s patience out ! I get him muffins, I get him ham, I get 
him fowls, I get him fish, I get him puddings, I get him every 
conceivable nicety that I can think of, and not a thing will he 
touch. All the satisfaction I can get from him is, that "his 
stomach turns against food !' 

' I wish I could eat,' interposed Jenkins, mildly. ' I have tried 
to do it till I can try no longer. I wish I could.' 

' Will you take some of this ham, young Mr. Yorke ?' she asked. 
* lie won't. He wants to Imow what scai'city of food is !' 

' I'll take it all if you like,' said Eoland. ' If it's going begging.' 

Mrs. Jenkins accommodated him with a plate and knife and 
fork, and with some more muffins. Eoland did ample justice to the 
whole, despatching it down with about six cups of good tea, well 
sugared and creamed. Jenkins looked on with satisfaction, and 
Mrs. Jenkins appeared to regard it in the light of a personal 
compliment to herself, as acting chief of the commissariat depart- 
ment. 

' And now,' said Eoland, turning back to the fire, * when are you 
coming out again, Jenkins ?' 

Jenkins coughed — more in hesitation for an answer, than ol 
necessity. ' I am beginning to think, sir, that I shall not get out 
again at all,' he presently said. 

' Holloa ! I say, Jenkins, don't go and talk that rubbish !' was 
Eoland's reply. 'You know what I told you once, about that 
dropsy. I heard of a man that took it into his head to fancy himself 
dead. And ho ordered a coffin, and lay down in it, and stopped in 
it for six days, only getting up at night to steal the bread and 
cheese ! His folks couldn't think, at first, where the loaves went 
to. You'll bo fancying the same, if you don't mind !' 

' If I could only get a little stronger, sir, instead of weaker, 1 
should soon be at my duty again. I am anxious enough, sir, as 
you may imagine, for there's my salary, sir, coming to me as usual, 
and I doing nothing for it.' 

' It's just this, Jenkins, that if you don't come back speedily, I 
shall take French leave, and be off some fine morning. I can't 
stand it much longer. I can't tell you how many blessed hours at a 
stretch am I in that office with nobody to speak to. I wish I was 
at Port Katal !' 

* Sir,' said Jenkins, thinking he would say a word of warning, in 
his kindly spirit, * I have heard that there's nothing more deceptive 
to the mind than those foreign parts that people flock to when the 
»ago arises for them. ^lany a man only goes out to starve and die 



THE CnANNINGS. 379 

' Many a muff, you mean !' returned the self-complaisant Eoland. 
* I say, Jenkins, isn't it a shame about Arthur Channing ? Galloway 
has got his money back from the very thief himself, as the letter 
8'iid, and yet the old gi-umbler won't speak out like a man, and say 
"Shake hands, old fellow," and " I know you are innocent, and 
come back to the office again." Arthur would return, if he said 
that. See if I don't start for Port Natal !' 

' I wish Mr. Arthur was back again, sir. It would make me 
easier.' 

* He sits, and stews, and frets, and worries his brains about that 
office, and how it gets on without him 1' tartly interposed Mrs. 
Jenkins. ' A sick man can't expect to grow better, if ho is to 
pine himself into fiddlestrings !' 

' I wish,' repeated poor Jenkins in a dreamy sort of mood, his 
eyes lixed on the fire, and his tliin hands clasped upon his knees, 
' I do wish Mr. Arthur was back. In a little while he'd quite 
replace me, and I should not be missed.* 

' Hear him !' uttered Mrs. Jenkins. * That's how he goes on !' 

' Well,' concluded Eoland, rising, and gathering up his letters, 
which he had deposited upon a side table, ' if this is not a nice part 
of the world to live in, I don't know what is ! Arthur Channing 
kept down under Galloway's shameful injustice ; Jenkins making 
out that things are all over with him ; and I driven off my head 
doing everybody's work ! Good night, Jenkins. Good night, 
Mrs. J. That was a stunning tea I I'll come in again some night, 
when you have got toasted muffins !' 



CHAPTEK XLIX. 

A CHATEAU EN ESPAGNE. 

A KEEX wind, blowing from the east, was booming through the 
streets of Helstonleigh, striking pitilessly the eyes and cheeks ol 
tlie wayfarers, cutting thin forms nearly in two, and taking stout 
ones off their legs. 

Blinded by the sharp dust, giving hard words to the wind, to the 
cold, to the post-offico for not being nearer, to anything and every- 
thing, Eoland Yorke dashed along, suffering nothing and nobody 
to impede his progress. He flung the letters into the box at the 
fX)8t-office, when he reached that establishment, and then set off at 
the same pace back again. 

Eoland was in a state of inward commotion. He thought himscli 



880 THE CHAKNTNGS. 

the most injured, the most hard- worked, the most-to-be-pitied 
fellow under the sun. The confinement in the office, with tlie 
additional work he had to get through there, was the chiel 
grievance ; and a grievance it really was to oiie of Eoland's tem- 
perament. When he had Arthur Channing and Jenkins for hie 
companions in it, to whom he could talk as he pleased, and who did 
all the work, allowing Eoland to do all the play, it had Imen 
tolerably bearable; but that state of things was changed, and 
Eoland was feeling that he could bear it no longer. 

Another thing that Eoland would perhaps be allowed to bear no 
longer was — immunity from his debts. They had grown on him 
latterly, as much as the work had. Careless Eoland saw no way 
out of that difficulty, any more than he did out of the other, save 
by an emigration to that desired haven which had stereotyped 
itself on the retina of his imagination in colours of the brightest 
fantasy — Port Natal. For its own sake, Eoland was hurrying to 
get to it, as well as that it might be convenient to do so. 

' Look here,' said he to himself, as he tore along, ' even if 
Carrick were to set me all clear and straight— and I daresay he 
might, if I told him the bother I am in — where would be the 
good? It would not forward me. I'd not stop at Galloway's 
another month to be made into a duke royal. If he'd take back 
Arthur with honours, and Jenkins came out of his cough and his 
shadowiness and returned, I don't know but I might do my 
inclination violence and remain. I can't, as it is. I should go 
dead with the worry and the work.' 

Eoland paused, fighting for an instant with a gust of wind and 
grit. Then he resumed — 

* I'd pay the debts if I could ; but, if I can't, what am I to do 
but leave them unpaid ? Much better get the money from CaiTick 
to start me off to Poi-t Natal, and set me going there. Then, when 
I have made enough, I'll send the cash to Arthur, and get him to 
settle up for me. I don't want to cheat the poor wretches out of 
their money ; I'd rather pay 'em double than do that. Some of 
them work hard enough to get it : almost as hard as I do at 
Galloway's ; and they have a right to their own. In three months' 
time after landing, I shall be able to do the thing liberally. I'll 
make up my mind from to-night, and go : I know it will be all for 
tlie best. Besides, there's the other thing.' 

What the * other thing ' might mean, Mr. Eoland did not more 
explicitly state. He came to another pause, and then went oq 
again. 




THE CnANNINGS. 381 

' That's settled. I'll tell my lady to-night, and I'll tell Galloway 
in the morning ; and I'll fix on the time for starting, and be off to 
London, and see what I can do with Carrick. Let's see ! I shall 
want to take out lots of things. I can get them in London. 
When Bagshaw went, he told me of about a thousand. I think 1 
dotted them down somewhere : I must look. Eum odds and ends 
they were : I know frying-pans were amongst them. Carrick will 
go with me to buy them, if I ask him ; and then he'll pay, if it's 
only out of politeness. Nobody sticks out for politeness more than 
Carrick. He ' 

Eoland's castles in the air were suddenly cut short. lie was 
passing a dark part near the Cathedral, when a rough hand— rougli 
in texture, not in motion — was laid upon his shoulder, and a pecu- 
liar piece of paper thrust upon him. The assailant was Hopper, 
the sheriff's officer. 

Eoland flew into one of his passions. He divined what it was, 
perfectly well : nothing less than one of those little mandates from 
our Sovereign Lady the Queen, which, a short while back, had 
perilled Hamish Channing. He repaid Hopper with a specimen of 
his tongue, and flung the writ back at him. 

* Now, sir, Where's the good of your abusing me, as if it was my 
fault ? returned the man, in a tone of reasoning remonstrance. ' I 
have had it in my pocket this three weeks, Mr. Yorke, and not a 
day but I could have served it on you : but I'm loth to trouble 
young gentlemen such as you, as I'm sure many of you in this 
town could say. I have got into displeasure with our folk about 
the delay in this very paper, and— in short, sir, I have not done it 
till I was obliged.' 

' You old preacher !' foamed Eoland. * I have not tipped you 
with half-a-crown lately, and therefore you can see me T 

' Mr. Yorke,' said the man, earnestly, ' if you had filled my hands 
with half-crowns yesterday, I must have done this to-day. I tell 
you, sir, I have got into a row with our people over it; and it's 
the truth. Why don't you, sir — if I may presume to give advice - 
tell out your little embarrassments to your mother, the Lady 
Angusta ? She'd be sure to see you through them.' 

' How dare you mention the Lady Augusta to me ?' thundered 
haughty Eoland. 'Is it fitting that the Lady Augusta's name 
Ehould be bandied in such transactions as these ? Do you think 
I don't know what's due to her better than that? If I have got 
into embarrassment, I shall not drag my mother into it.' 

*Well, sir, you know best. I did not mean to offend you, but 



382 THE CTTANNINGS. 

tlie coutrary. Mind, Mr. Eolancl Yorko !' added Hopper, pointing 
to tliG wTit, which still lay where it had been flung, * you can leave 
it there if you choose, sir, but I have served it upon you.' 

Hopper went his way. Eoland caught up the paper, tore it to 
pieces with his strong hand, and tossed them after the man. The 
wind took up the quarrel, and scattered the pieces indiscriminately, 
right and left. Eoland strode on. 

' What a mercy that there's a Port Natal to be off to !' was his 
comment. 

Things were not particularly premising at home, when Eoland 
entered, looking at them in a quiet, sociable point of view. Lady 
Augusta was spending the evening at the deanery, and the cliildrcn, 
irom Gerald downwards, were turning the general parlour into a 
bear-garden. Eomping, quarrelling, shouting, and screaming, they 
were really as unrestrained as so many young bears. It would 
often be no better when Lady Augusta was at home. How Gerald 
and Tod contrived to do their lessons amidst it, was a marvel to 
everybody. Eoland administered a few cuffs, to enjoin silence, and 
then went out again, ho did not much care where. His feet took 
him to the house of liis friend, Knivett, with whom he spent a 
pleasant evening, the topics of conversation turning cliicfly upon 
the glories of Port Natal, and Eoland's recent adventure witli 
Hopper. Had anything been wanted to put the finishing touch 
to Eoland's resolution, that little adventure would have sup- 
plied it. 

It was past ten when he returned home. The noisy throng had 
dispersed then, all save Gerald. Gerald had just accomplished liis 
tasks, and was now gracefully enjoying a little repose before the 
lire ; his head on the back of my lady's low embroidered chair, and 
his feet extended on either hob. 

'What's for supper?' asked Eoland, turning his eyes on the 
cloth, which bore traces that a party, and not a scrupulously tidy 
one, had already partaken of that meal. 

* Bones,' said Gerald. 

' Bones ?' echoed Eoland. 

' Bones,' rejoined Gerald. ' They made a show of broiling some 
down-stairs, but they took good care to cut off the meat first. 
Where all the meat goes to in this house, I can't think. If a good 
half of the leg of mutton didn't go down from dinner to-day, I 
possessed no eyes.' 

• They are not going to put mo off with bones,' said Eoland, 
ringimK the bell. ' When a man's worked within an ace of his lifof 



THE CHANNINGS 383 

he must cat. IMartha,' — Avlien the maid appeared — 'I want some 
guppcr. 

' There s no meat in the house, sir. There were some broiled 
bo 

' You may eat the bones yourself/ interrupted Eoland. * I never 
saw such a house as this ! Loads of provisions come into it, and 
yet tliere's rarely anything to be had when it's wanted. You must 
go and order me some oysters. Get four dozen. I am famished. 
If I hadn't had a substantial tea, supplied me out of charity, I 
should be fainting before this ! It's a shame ! I wonder m^ lady 
i)uts up with you two incapable servants.' 

' There are no oysters to be had at this time, Mr. Eoland,' re- 
turned ]Martha, who was accustomed to these interludes, touching 
tlie housekeeping. * The shop shuts up at ten.' 

Eoland beat on the floor with the heel of his boot. Then he 
turned round fiercely to Martha. * Is there nothing in the house 
that's eatable ?' 

* There's an apple pie, sir.' 

' Bring that, then. And while I am going into it, the cook can 
do me some eggs and ham.' 

Gerald had turned round at this, angry in his turn. *If there's 
an apple pie, Martha, why could you not have produced it for our 
supper? You know we were obliged to put up with cheese and 
butter !' 

* The cook told me not to bring] it up, Master Gerald. My lady 
gave no orders. Cook says if she made ten pies a-day they'd get 
eaten, once you young gentlemen knew of their being in the house.' 

' Well ?' said Gerald. ' She doesn't provide them out of her 
pocket.' 

Eoland paid his court to the apple pie, Gerald joining him. 
After it was finished, they kept the cook employed some time with 
tlie eggs and ham. Then Gerald, who had to be up betimes for 
morning school, went to bed ; and I only hope he did not get the 
liightmare. 

Roland took up his place before the fire, in the same chair and 
position vacated by Gerald. Thus he waited for Lady Augusta. It 
was not long before she came in. 

' Come and sit down a bit, good mother,' said Eoland. *I want 
to talk to you.* 

' My dear, 1 am not in a talking humour,' she answered. * My 
head aches, and I shall be glad to get to bed. It was a stupid 
liumdrum evening. 



884; THE CHANNINGS. 

She was walking to the side table to light her bed candle, but 
Roland interposed. He drew the couch close to the fire, settled his 
mother in it, and took his seat with her. She asked him what ho 
had to say so particularly that night. 

' 1 am going to tell you what it is. But don't you fly out at me, 
mother dear,' he coaxingly added. * I find I can't get along hero 
at all, mother, and I shall be off to Port Natal.' 

Lady Augusta did fly out — with a scream, and a start from her 
seat. Eoland pulled her into it again. 

'Now, mother, just listen tp me quietly. I can't bear my life at 
Galloway's. I can't do the work. If I stopped at it, I'm not sure 
but I should do something desperate. You'd not like to see your 
son turn jockey, and ride in a pink silk jacket and yellow breeches 
on the race-course ; and you'd not like to see him enlist for a 
soldier, or run away for a sailor ? \Vell, worse than that might 
come, if I stopped at Galloway's. Taking it at the very best, I 
should only get worked into my grave.' 

* I will not hear another word, Eoland,' interrupted Lady 
Augusta. ' How can you be so wicked and ungrateful ?' 

' What is there wicked in it 7 asked Eoland. ' Besides, you don't 
know all. I can't tell you what I don't owe in Helstonleigh, and 
I've not got sixpence to pay it. You'd not like to see me marched 
off to prison, mother.' 

Lady Augusta gave another shriek. 

'And there's a third reason why T wish to be away,' went on 
Eoland, drowning the noise. ' But I'll not go into that, because 
it concerns myself alone.' 

Of course the announcement that it concerned himself alone, 
only made my lady the more inciuisitive to hear it. She pe- 
remptorily ordered Eoland to disclose it to her. 

But Eoland could be as peremptory as she, and he declined, in 
positive terms, to explain further. 

' It would not afford you any pleasure, mother,' he said, ' and 1 
should not have mentioned it but as an additional reason why I 
must be off.' 

' You unhappy boy ! You have been doing something dreadful !' 

' It's not over good,' acknowledged Eoland. ' Perhaps I'll write 
you word all about it from London. I've not smothered William 
Yorke, or set old Galloway's oflSce on fire, and those respected 
gentlemen are my two lietes noires. So don't look so scared, 
mother.' 

' Eoland !* uttered Lady Augusta, as the fact struck her, ' if yoa 



i 



THE CHANNLNGS. 385 

go off in this manner, all the money that was paid with you to Mr. 
Galloway will be lost ! I might as well have sent it down the 
gutter.' 

' So I said at the time,* answered cool Eoland. * Never mind 
that, mother. "What's that paltry hundred or two, compared to 
the millions I shall make ? And as to these folks that I owe money 
to ' 

' They'll be coming upon me,' interposed Lady Augusta. ' Heaven 
knows, / have enough to pay.' 

' They will do nothing of the sort,' said Eoland. ' You have no 
legal right to pay my debts. Not one of them but has been con- 
tracted since I was of age. If they come to you, tell them so.' 

* Eoland, Lord Carrick gave you money once or twice when he 
was here,' resumed Lady Augusta. ' I know he did. What have 
you done with it all ?' 

' Money melts,' responded Eoland. * Upon my word and honour 
I do believe it must melt at times ; it vanishes so quickly.' 

My lady could not cavil at the assertion. She was only too much 
given to the same belief herself. Eoland continued — 

' In a little while — about three months, as I calculate — after my 
arrival at Port Natal, I shall be in a position to send funds home 
to pay what I owe ; and bo assured, I will faithfully send them. 
There is the finest opening, mother, at Port Natal ! Fortimes aro 
bemg made there daily. In a few years' time I shall come homo 
with my pockets lined, and shall settle down by you for life.' 

* If I could but think the prospect was so good a one !' exclaimed 
Lady Augusta. 

*It w,' said Eoland emphatically. 'Why, mother. Port Natal 
is all the rage: hundreds are going out. Were there no reasons to 
urge me away, you would be doing the most unwise thing possibio 
to stand in the light of my going. If I were at something that I 
liked, that I was not worked to death at ; if I did not owe a shil- 
ling ; if my prospects here, in short, were first-rate ; and my life a 
bower of rose-leaves, I should do well to throw it all up for Port 
Natal.' 

' But in what manner are these great fortunes made ?' wondered 
Lady Augusta. 

' Of course, I shall acquire all that information. Stuck in this 
know-nothing Helstonleigh, I can only state the fact that they are 
made. I daresay I can find an opening for one or two of the boys 
out there.' 

Ladjr Augusta— persuadable as ever was a child— began to look 

2c 



383 THIS CHANNINGS. 

upon the plan with less prejudiced eyes— as Eoland would liavo 
styled it. As to Eoland, so fully had he become imbued with the 
golden harvest to be gathered at Port Natal, that had an angel 
descended to undeceive him, he would have refused to listen. 

'There will be the losing you, Eoland,' said Lady Augusta, 
hesitating whether she should scold or cry. 

* Law, what's that ?' returned Eoland, slightingly. 'You'll get 
over that in a day, and return thanks that there's one source of 
trouble less. Look here ! If I were in the luck of having a good 
commission given me in some crack Indian regiment, would you 
not say, " Oh be joyful," and start me off at once ? What are you 
the worse for George's being away ? Mother !' he added somewhat 
passionately, ^ would you like to see me tied down for life to an old 
.proctor's office ?' 

* But, Eoland, you cannot go out without money. There'll be 
your outfit and your passage ; and you can't land with empty 
pockets.' 

' As to an outfit,' said Eoland, * you must not run your head 
upon such a one as George had A few new shirts, and a pair or 
two of waterproof boots — that will be about all I shall want. I re- 
member shirts and waterproof boots were mentioned by Bagshaw. 
"What I shall mostly want to buy will be tools, and household 
utensils : frying-pans, and items of that sort.' 

Trying-pans !' ejaculated Lady Augusta. 

'I am sure frying-pans were mentioned,' answered Eoland. 
•Perhaps it was only one, though, for private use. I'll hunt up 
Bagshaw's list, and look it over.' 

' And Where's the money to come from P repeated my lady. 

* I shall get it of Lord Carrick. I know he'll give me what t 
want. I often talked to him about Port Natal when he was here.' 

' I had a letter from him to-day,' said Lady Augusta. ' He will 
be returning to Ireland next week.' 

'Will he, though?' uttered Eoland, aroused by the information. 

* I have no time to lose, then.* 

' Well, Eoland I must hear more about this to-morrow, and con- 
sider it over,' said my lady, rising to retire. ' I have not said yet 
you are to go, mind.' 

' I shall go, whether you say it or not,' replied frank Eoland. 

* And when I come home with my pockets lined, a rich man for 
Kfe, the first thing I'll buy shall be a case of diamonds for you.' 

'Stupid boy!' said she laughing. 'I shall be too old to wonr 
diamonds tiien.' 




THE CIIAKNINGS. 887 

* Oil no, you won't.' 

My lady gave him a hearty kiss, and went to bed and to sleep. 
The visions of Eoland were not without their effect upon her, and 
bIic had a most delightful dream of driving about in a charming city, 
whose streets were paved with malachite marble, brilliant to look 
upon. How many times Eoland had dreamt that Port Natal was 
paved with gold, he alone knew. 

Had Eoland been troubled with over-sensitiveness in regard to 
other people's feelings, and felt himself at a loss how to broach the 
matter to Mr. Galloway, ho might have been pleased to find that 
the way was, in a degree, paved to him. On the following morning 
Mr. Galloway was at the office considerably before his usual hour ; 
consequently, before Eoland Yorkc. Upon looking over Eoland's 
work of the previous day, he found that a deed — a deed that was in 
u hurry, too — had been imperfectly drawn out, and would have to 
be done over again. The cause must have been sheer carelessness, 
and Mr. Galloway -naturally felt angered. When the gentleman 
arrived, he told him what he thought of his conduct, winding up 
the reproaches with a declaration that Eoland did him no service 
at all, and would be as well out of the office as in it. 

* I am glad of that, sir,' was Eoland's answer. 'What I was 
about to tell you will make no difference, then. I wish to leave, 
sir.' 

'Do you ?' retorted Mr. Galloway. 

'I am going to leave, sir,' added Eoland, rather improving upon 
the assertion. ' I am going to Port Natal.' 

Mr. Galloway was a little taken aback, ' Going to where ?' cried 
ho. 

' To Port Katal.' 

' To Port Natal !' echoed Sir. Galloway in unbounded astonish- 
ment, for not an inkling of Eoland's long-thought-of project had 
ever reached him. ' What on earth should you want there ?' 

' To make my fortune,' replied Eoland. 

' Oh !' said Mr. Galloway. ' When do you start ?' 

' It is quite true, sir,' continued Eoland. ' Of course I could 
not go without informing you.' 

'Do you start to-day.^' repeated Mr. Galloway, in the same 
mocking tone. 

'No, I don't,' said Eoland. 'But I sAa/^ start, sir, before long, 
and I beg you to believe mo. I have talked Lady Augusta over tc 
the plan, and I shall get the money for it from Lord Carrick. I 
might drum on here all my life and never rise to bo anything bettej 

2 c 2 



388 THE CHANNINGS. 

than a proctor, besides having my life worked out ol nie ; whereas, 
if I can get to Port Natal, my fortune s made. Hundreds and 
thousands of enterprising spirits are emigrating there, and they 
are all going to make their fortunes.' 

Had Mr. Galloway not been angi-y, he would have laughed out- 
viglit. ' Yorke,' said he, ' did you ever hear of a sickness that fell 
suddenly upon this kingdom, some years ago ? It was called tho 
gold fever. Hundreds and thousands, as you phrase it, caught tho 
mania, and flocked out to the Australian gold-diggings, to " make 
their fortunes " by picking up gold. Boy !' — laying his 'hand on 
Eoland's shoulder — 'how many of those, think you. instead of 
making their fortunes, only went out to die ?' 

' That was not Port Natal, sir.' 

* It was not. But, unless some of you wild young men come to 
your senses, wo shall have a second edition of the Australian 
madness at Port Natal. Nothing can be more futile than these 
visionary schemes, Eoland Yorke; they are like the apples of 
Sodom — fair and promising to the eye, full of ashes to the taste. 
Do not you be deceived by them.' 

' One must get on at Port Natal, sir.' 

' If one does not get " off," ' returned Mr. Galloway, in a cynical 
tone that chafed Eoland's ear. ' The stream that flocked out to 
the gold-diggings all thought they should get on— each mdividual 
was fully persuaded that he should come home in a year or two 
with a plum in each of his breeches pockets. Wheie one made his 
way, Poland — made wealth— many starved ; died ; vanished, it 
was not known how ; were never- heard of by their friends more, 
or saw old England again. What good do you suppose you could 
do at Port Natal?' 

' I intend to do a great deal,' said Eoland. 

* But suppose you found you could do none— suppose it, I say— 
what would become of you out in a strange place, without money 
and without friends ?' 

* Well,' returned Eoland, who was never at a loss for an answer, 
' if such an impossible thing as a failure were to turn up, I should 
come back to my uncle Carrick, and make him start me in some- 
thing else.' 

* Ah !' mockingly observed Mr. Galloway, * a rolling stone gathers 
no moss. Meanwhile, Mr. Eoland Yorke, suppose you come down 
from the clouds to your proper business. Draw out this deed 
again, and see if you can accomphsh it to a little more purpose 
than you did yesterday.' 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 889 

Eoland, liking the tone less and less, sat down and grew sullca, 
* Don't say I did not give you notice, sir,' he observed. 

But Mr. Galloway vouchsafed no reply. Indeed, it may be 
questioned if he heard the remark, for he went into his own room 
at the moment Roland spoke, and shut the door after him, 

'Mocking old caterpillar 1* grumbled angry Koland. *No for- 
times at Tort Natal \ I'd go oft", if it was only to tantalize himV 



CHAPTER L. 

REALLY GONE ! 

Mrs. Jenkins had many virtues. Besides the cardinal one which 
has been particularly brought under the reader's notice — that oi 
keeping her husband in due subjection — she also possessed, in ao 
eminent degree, the excellent quality of being a most active house- 
wife. In fact, she had the bump of rule and order, and personally 
superintended everything — with hands and tongue. 

Amongst other careful habits, was that of never letting anybody 
put a finger on her best sitting-room, for the purpose of cleaning 
it, except herself. She called it her drawing-room — a small, pretty 
room over the shop, very well furnished. It was let to Mr. 
Harper, with the bed-room behind it. Had Lydia dared even to 
wipe the dust off a table, it might have cost her her place. Mrs. 
Jenkins was wont to slip her old buff dressing-gown over her 
clothes, after she was dressed in a morning, and partake herself to 
this drawing-room. Twice a week it was carefully swept, and on 
those occasions a large green handkerchief, tied comerwise upon 
i\Irs. Jenkins's head, to save her cap from dust, was added to hei 
costume. 

On the morning following Eoland's communication to Mr. Gallo- 
way, Mrs. Jenkins was thus occupied — a dust-pan in one hand, a 
short hand-broom in the other — for you may be sure she did not 
sweep her carpets with those long, slashing, tear-away brooms that 
wear out a carpet in six months — and the green kerchief adjusted 
giacefuUy over her ears— when she heard a man's footsteps clatter- 
ing up 1;he stairs. In much astonishment as to who could have 
invaded the house at that hour, Mrs. Jenkins rose from her knees 
and flung open the door. 

It was Roland Yorke, coming up at the top of his speed, with a 
carpet-ba^ in his hand. * Whatever do you want ?' exclaimed she. 
* Is anything the matter?' 



300 THE CTIANNINGS 

' Tlic matter is, that I want to say a word to Jenkins,' repKcd 
ftoland. ' I know he must be in bed, so I just ran straight thi'ough 
the shop and up.' 

' I'm sure you are very polite !' exclaimed Mrs. Jenkins. * For 
all you knew, I might have been in the room.' 

' So you might!' cried easy Roland. 'I never thought of that. 
I should not have swallowed you, Mrs. Jenkins. Take care ! 1 
have hardly a minute to spare. I shall lose the train.' 

On he went, up the second flight of stairs, without the slightest 
hesitation, and into Jenkins's room, ignoring the ceremony of 
knocking. Poor Jenkins, who had heard the colloquy, and 
recognized Eoland's voice, was waiting for him with wondering 
eyes. 

' I am off, Jenkins,' said Eoland, advancing and bending over 
the bed. ' I wouldn't go without just saying a word to you.' 

' Off where, sir ?' returned Jenkins, who could not have looked 
more bewildered had he been suddenly aroused from sleep. 

' To Port Natal. I am sick and tired of everything here, so I'm 
off at last.' 

Jenkins was struck dumb. Of course, the first thought that 
passed through his mind was Mr. Galloway's discomfiture, unices 
he was prepared for it. ' This is very sudden, sir !' ho cried, 
when speech came to him. 'Who is replacing you at the 
office ?' 

' Nobody,' replied Eoland. ' That's the primest bit in the whole 
play. Galloway will know what work is, now. I told him yester- 
day morning that I should go, but he went into a tantrum, and 
didn't take it in earnest. He pointed out to me about sixty things 
as my day's work to-day, when he left the ofiice last night ; errands 
to go upon, and writings to do, and answers to give, and the office 
to mind ! A glorious commotion there'll be, when he finds it's all 
thrown upon his own hands. He'll see how he likes work !' 

Jenkins could do nothing but stare. Eolaad went on — 

'I have just slipped round there now^ to leave a message, with 
ray compliments. It will turn his hair green when he hears it, 
and finds I am really gone. Do you feel any better, Jenkins ?' 

The question was put in a different tone ; a soft gentle tone — 
one in which Eoland rarely spoke. He had never seen Jenkins 
,ook so ill as he was looking now. 

' I shall never feel any better in this world, sir.* 

* Well, give us your hand, Jenkins ; I must be off. You aro the 
only one, old fellow, that I have said good-bye to. You have beeu 



THE CHANNINGS. 391 

a pood lot, Jenkins, and done things for me that other clerks 
would not. Good luck to you, old chap, whether you go into the 
next world, or whether you stop in this !* 

* God bless you, Mr. Eoland ! God bless you everywhere !' 
Eoland leapt down the stairs. Mrs. Jenkins stood at the 

drawing-room door. 'Good-bye,' said he to her. *You see I 
should not have had time to eat you. What d'ye call that thing 
you have got upon your head, Mrs. Jenkins ? Only wear it to 
church next Sunday, and you'll set the fashion.' 

Away he tore to the station. The first person he saw there, 
officials excepted, was Hamish Channing, who had gone to it for 
the purpose of seeing a friend off by the train. The second, was 
Lady Augusta Yorke. 

Hamish he saw first, as he was turning away from getting his 
ticket. ' Hamish,' said he, * you'll tell Arthur that I did not come 
round to him for a last word ; I shall write it from London.' 

* Roland ' — and Hamish spoke more gravely than was his wont — 
' you are starting upon a wild-goose scheme.' 

'ItisTzo^,' said Roland; 'why do you preach up nonsense? If 
the worst came to the worst, I should come back to Carrick, and 
he'd set me on my legs again. I tell you, Hamish, I have a 
hundred reasons to urge me away from Helstonleigh.' 

' Is this carpet-bag all your luggage ? 

* All I am taking with me. The rest will be sent afterwards. 
Had I dispatched the bellman about the town to announce my 
departure, I might have got stopped; so I have told nobody, 
except poor harmless Jenkins.' 

Of course it never occurred to proud and improvident Roland 
tliat it was possible to travel in any carriage but a first-class one. 
A first-class ticket he took, and into a first-class compartment he 
got. Fortunate it was that it was an empty one. Hamish was 
filling up the door, talking to him, when sounds of distress were 
licard coming swiftly along the platform. Before Hamish had time 
to look what caused them, they were close upon his ear, and he 
found himself vehemently pushed aside, just as Eoland himself 
might have pushed him. He turned with surprise. Panting, 
breathless, in tears, wailing out that she should never see her 
darling son again, stood the Lady Augusta Yorke. 

What could be the cause of her appearance there in that state / 
The cause was Roland. On the previous day, he had held a second 
conversation with his mother, picturing the glories of Port Natal 
in colours so vivid, that the thought nearly crossed my lady's mind, 



392 IHE CHANNINGS. 

couldn't she go too, and make her fortune? She then inquired 
■Nvhen he meant to start. ' Oh,' answered Eoland, carelessly, 
'between now and a week's time.' The real fact was, that he 
contemplated being away on the following morning, before my 
lady was up. Koland's motive was not an unfilial one. He knew 
how she excited herself over these partings ; the violent, if short, 
grief to which she gave the reins ; he remembered what it had 
been on the departure of his brother George. One other motive 
also held weight with him, and induced reticence. It was very 
desirable, remembering that he was not perfectly free from claims 
upon his purse, that he should depart, if not absolutely suh rosd, 
still without its being extensively known, and that, he knew, 
would be next door to an impossibility, were the exact period 
imparted to my lady. Lady Augusta Yorke could not have kept a 
secret for a single hour, had it been to save her life. Accordingly, 
she retired to rest in blissful ignorance: and in ignorance she 
might have remained until he Avas fairly off, but for Koland's own 
want of caution. Up with daylight — and daylight, you know, 
does not surprise us too early when the dark days of November 
are close at hand — Eoland began turning over his drawers and 
closets, to pick out the few articles he meant to carry with him : 
the rest would be packed afterwards. This aroused his mother, 
whose room was underneath his, and she angrily wondered what 
he could be doing. Not for sometime, until after the noise ceased, 
did the faintest suspicion of the truth break upon her, and it might 
not then, but for the sudden remembrance which rose in her mind 
of Roland's particularly affectionate farewell the night previously. 
Lady Augusta rang her bell. 

* Do you know what Mr. Eoland is about in his room ?' she 
inquired, when Martha answered it. 

' Mr. Eoland is gone out, my lady,' was Martha's reply. ' Ho 
came down in the kitchen and drank a cup of coffee ; and then 
went out with a carpet-bag,' 

Lady Augusta became excited. ' Where's hr gone ?' she wildly 
asked. 

' Somewhere by rail, I think, my lady. He said, as he drank his 
coffee, that he hoped our heads wouldn't ache till he saw us again. 
Cook and me couldn't think what he meant, my lady.' 

My lady divined only too well. She gave a prolonged series of 
shrieks, jumped out of bed, flung on any clothes that came upper- 
most, and started in pursuit of him, to the intense wonder of 
Mai*tha,and to tlie astonishment of Helstonleigh, as she flew wildly 




THi: CHANNINGS. 393 

llirougli the streets to the station. The sight of Hamish at a 
carriage door guided her to her runagate son. 

She sprung into the carriage — it was well, I say, that it was 
empty ! — and overwhelmed him with a torrent of reproaches, all 
the while kissing and hugging him. Not two minutes could bo 
given to their farewell, for the time was up, and Lady Augusta 
had to descend again, weeping bitterly. 

*Take care of her, home, Hamish,' said Koland, putting his head 
out. 'Mother dear, you'll live to say I have done well, yet. 
You'll see me come home, one of these fine days, with a covered 
waggon after me, bringing the bags of gold.' Poor Eoland ! 

The train steamed off, and Lady Augusta, to the discomfiture of 
Hamish, and admiration of the porters and station boys, set off at 
full speed after it, wringing her hands, and tearing her hair, and 
sobbing and shrieking out that * She'd go — she'd go with it ! that 
she should never see her darling boy again!' With some dif- 
ficulty Hamish soothed her down to tolerable calmness, and put 
her into a fly. 

They were scarcely beyond the station when she suddenly bent 
forward to Hamish, who sat on the seat opposite to her, and seized 
his hands. ' Is it true that everybody gets rich who goes to Port 
Natal?' 

The question was a poser for sunny Hamish. He liked to scatter 
flowers in his path, rather than thorns. How could he tell that 
gi'ieving woman, that, Eoland— careless, lazy, improvident Eoland 
^-would be almost sure to return in a worse plight than he had 
gone? *I have heard of people doing well at Port Natal,' he 
answered ; ' and Eoland is young and strong, and has years before 
him.' 

' I cannot think how so much money can be made,' continued my 
lady, beginning to dry her tears. 'There are no gold fields there, 
are there ?' 

' I think not,' said Hamish. 

* They must trade, then, I suppose. And, goodness me ! what 
docs Eoland know about trading? Nothing. He talks of taking 
out tools and frying-pans.' 

* Frying-pans!' repeated Hamish, struck with the item. 

'I am sure he said frying-pans. Oh, dear!' sobbed Lady 
Augusta, ' what a relief it would be if folks never had any children ! 
or if boys did not possess wills of their own ! Hamish, you have 
never given sorrow to your mother I I feel that you have not !' 

Hamish smiled at her. * Now you know, Lady Augusta, that 



894 THE CHANNINGS. 

your children are your dearest treasures,' cried Le, sootLiugly 
*you would bo the most unhappy woman living if you had none.' 

* Ah ! you can't judge, Mr. Hamish Channing. You have no 
children of your own.' 

* No,' said Hamish, laughing, * but my turn may come some day. 
Dear Lady Augusta, if Eoland has his faults, lie has his good 
qualities. Look on the bright side of things. Look forward with 
hope to the time that you shall see him home safe and well again. 
It will be sure to come.' 

* You speak as if you believed it would.' 

* Of course I do,' said Hamish. * And everybody finds me a true 
prophet.' 

They were then passing the Hazledon Charity. At the iron 
gates of theinclosure talking to an old man, stood theEev. William 
Yorkc. 'Eoland left a message for him !' exclaimed Hamish, half 
mockingly, as his eyes fell upon the clergyman. 

Lady Augusta, all impulse ever, suddenly put her head out at the 
window and stopped the fly. William Yorke, looking surprised to 
see who were its inmates, advanced to the door. The lady's tears 
flowed afresh. 

' He is gone, W' illiam ! My darling, self-willed, troublesome boy 
is gone, and I shall, perhaps, never sec him more, till I am an old 
woman.' 

* Who is gone ?' returned Mr. Yorke. 

' Eoland. Never was a mother so tried as T. He will soon be on 
the sea, ploughing his way to Port Natal. I wish there was no 
sea !— no Port Natals ! He went off without saying a word to me, 
and he is gone !' 

Mr. Yorke, bewildered, turned his eyes on Hamish for explana- 
tion. He had never heard of the Port Natal project. Hamish 
nodded in confirmation. 

* The best place for him,' said Mr. Yorke. *He must work for 
his bread, there, before he eats it.' 

Lady Augusta shrieked : * How cruelly hard you are, William !' 

' Not hard. Lady Augusta— kind,' he gently said. ' If your boys 
were brought up to depend upon their own exertions more, they 
would make better men.' 

*You said you had a message for him from Eoland,' resumed 
Lady Augusta, looking at Hamish. 

Hamish smiled significantly. ' Not much of one,' he said, an^ 
his lips, as he bent towards Wilb'am Yorke, assumed an expression 
of sarcastic severity. ' He merely requested me, after he was 



THK CHaNNINGS. 395 

In tlic train, to give his love to the Kev. Mr. Yorkc, as a parting 
legacy.* 

Either the words or the tone, probably the latter, struck on tho 
Iicv. Mr. Yorke's self-esteem and flushed his cheek crimson. Since 
tlic rupture with Constance, Hamish, though not interfering in the 
remotest degree, had maintained a tone of quiet sarcasm to Mr. 
Voike. And though Mr. Yorke did not like it, ho could not 
hinder it. 

'When does Mr. Channing return?' he abruptly asked ol 
Ilaiuish. 

' We shall be expecting him shortly now.' 

Lady Augusta gave the signal for the fly to drive on. AVilliam 
Yorke put his hand over the door, and took hers as the man began 
to whip up his horse. 

' Do not grieve too much after him. Lady Augusta. It. may 
l)rove to be the best day's work Eoland ever did. God has given 
liim hands, and brains ; and a good heart, as I verily believe. If 
]ic shall only learn their value out there, let his lines be ever so 
hard, he may come home a wise and a good man. One of my poor 
pensioners here said to me, not ten minutes ago, " I was brought 
to know my Saviour, sir, through "hard lines." Lady Augusta, 
those " hard lines" arc never sent in vain.' 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

AN ARRIVAL IN A FLY. 



Was anybody ever so ill-used as that unfortunate Mr. Galloway ? 

On the morning which witnessed his troublesome clerk's departure, 

he sat rather longer than usual over his breakfast, never dreaming 

of the calamity in store for him. That his thoughts were given to 

business, there was no doubt, for his newspaper lay untouched. 

^In point of fact, his mind was absorbed by the difficulties which 

i^H^ arisen in his office, and the ways and means by which those 

^^^Bfficultics might be best remedied. 

^^HThat it would bo impor,sible to get on with Eoland Y^orke alone, 

H|fe had said to himself twenty times ; and now he was saying it 

j again, little supposing, poor unconscious man, that even Eoland, 

' bad, as he was, had taken flight. He had never intended to get 

along with only Eoland, but circumstances had induced him to 

attempt doing so for a time. In the first place, he had entertained 

hopes, until very recently, that Jenkins would recover ; in tho 



896 THE CHAh-NINOS. 

second place, failing Jenkins, there was nobody in the wide world 
he would so soon have in his oflSce as Arthur Channing— provided 
that Arthur could prove his innocence. With Arthur and Eoland, 
he could go on very well, or with Jenkins and Eoland ; but poor 
Jenkins appeared to be getting beyond hope ; and Arthur's in- 
nocence was no nearer the light than it had been, in spite of that 
strange coming back to him of the money. Moreover, Arthur had 
declined to return to the office, even to help with the copying, 
preferring to take it home. All these reflections were pressing 
upon the mind of Mr. Galloway. 

* I'll wait no longer,' said he, as he brought them to a conclusion. 

* I'll go this very day after that young Bartlett. I think he might 
suit, with some drilling. If he turns out a second Yorke, T shall have 
a nice pair upon my hands. But he can't well turn out as bad as 
Eoland : he comes of a more business-like stock.' 

This point settled, Mr. Galloway took up the Times. Something 
in its pages awoke his interest, and he sat longer over it than it had 
been his wont to do since the departure of Jenkins. It was twenty 
minutes past nine by his watch when he started for his office. 

* Now, I wonder how I shall find that gentleman ?' solilocpiised 
he, when he drew near. * Amusing himself, as usual, of course. 
He'll liave made a show of putting out the papers, and there they 
will be, lying unopened. He'll be at Aunt Sally with the letters, or 
dancing a quadrille with the stools, or got himself stretched three 
parts out of the window, saluting the passengers. I never thought 
he'd do me much good, and should not have taken him, but for the 
respect I owed the late Dr. Yorke. Now for it !' 

It was all very well for Mr. Galloway to say, * Now for it,' and 
to put his hand stealthily upon the door-handle, with the intention of 
pouncing suddenly upon his itinerant pupil. But the door would 
not open. Mr. Galloway turned, and turned, and shook the handle, 
like our respected friend Mr. Ketch did when he was locked in the 
cloisters, but he turned it to no purpose. 

' He has not come yet !' wrathfully exclaimed Mr. Galloway. 

* All the work of the office on his shoulders and mine, the most 
busy time of the whole year, and here's half-past nine, and no ap- 
pearance of him ! If I live this day out, I'll complain to Lady Au- 
gusta !' 

At this moment the housekeeper's little maid came running for- 
ward. 'Where's Mr, Yorke?' thundered the proctor, in his anger, 
as if the child had the keeping of him. 

' Please, sir, he's gone to Port Natal.' 




THE CHANNLNGS. 397 

'Gone to— what?' uttered Mr. Galloway. 

She was unlocking the door, and then stood back to curtsey 
while Mr. Galloway entered, following in after him— an intelligent 
child for her years. 

' Please, sir, Mr. Yorke came round this morning, while me and 
missis was a dusting of the place, and he said we was to tell Mr. 
Galloway, when he come, that he had gone to Port Natal, and left 
his compliments.' 

' It is not true !' cried Mr. Galloway. ' How dare he play these 
tricks ? he added, to himself. 

' Please, sir, missis said she thought as it was true, 'cause he had 
got a carpet-bag,' returned the young servant. 

Mr. Galloway stared at the child. ' You go round at once to 
Lady Augusta's,' said he, 'and ask what Mr. Yorke means by being 
so late. I desire that he will come immediately.' 

The child flew off, and Mr. Galloway, hardly knowing what to 
make of matters, proceeded to do what he ought to have found done. 
He and Jenkins had duplicate keys to the desks, letter-box, &c. Since 
Jenkins's illness, his keys had been in the possession of Eoland. 
Presently the child came back again. 

'Please, sir, her ladyship's compliments, and Mr. Eoland have 
gone to Port Natal.' 

The consternation that this would have caused Mr. Galloway, 
had he believed it, might have been pitiable. An intimation that 
our clerk, who was in the office the previous night, pursuing his 
legitimate work, has ' gone to Port Natal,' like we might say of 
somebody who goes to make a morning call at the next door, is not 
very credible. Neither Did Mr. Galloway give credence to it. 

'Did you see her ladyship?' he asked. 

' Please, sir, I saw one of the servants, and she went to her lady- 
ship, and brought out the message.' 

The young messenger retired, leaving Mr. Galloway to his fate. 
He persisted in assuming that the news was too absurd to be cor- 
rect; but a dreadful inward misgiving began to steal over him. 

The question was set at rest by the Lady Augusta. Feeling ex- 
cessively vexed with Eoland for not having informed Mr. Gallo- 
way of his intended departure — as from the message, it would 
appear he had not done — she determined to go round ; and did so, 
following closely on the heels of the maid. Her ladyship had al- 
ready wonderfully recovered her spirits. They were of a mercurial 
nature, liable to go up and down at touch ; and Hamish had con- 
trived to cheer her greatly. 



898 THE CHANNINGS. 

* Wliat does all this mean? Where's Koland?' began Mr. Gallo- 
way, showing little more deference to her ladyship, in his flurry, 
than he might have shown to Eoland himself. 

' Did you not know he was going ?' she asked. 

* I know nothing. Where is he gone ?' 

' He has started for Port Natal ; that is, he has started for Lon- 
don, on his way to it. He went by the eight o'clock train.' 

Mr. Galloway sat do^vn in consternation. ' My lady, allow luo to 
inquire what sort of behaviour you call this P 

' Whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, I can't help it, was 
the reply of Lady Augusta. ' I'm sure / have enough to bear !' she 
added, melting into tears. * Of course he ought to have informed 
you of his intention, Mr. Galloway. I thought he did. He told vAe 
ho had done so.* 

A reminiscence of Eoland's communication crossed Mr. Galloway's 
mind ; of his words, 'Don't say I did not give you notice, sir.' lie 
had paid no heed to it then. 

'He is just another of my headstrong boys,' gi'umbled Lady 
Augusta. ' They are all specimens of wilfulness. I never knew 
that it was this morning he intended to be off, until he wa.e 
gone, and I had to run after him to the station. Ask Hamisb 
Channing.' 

' He must be mad !' exclaimed Mr. Galloway. 

* He says great fortunes are made, out at Port Natal. I don't 
know whether it is so.' 

' Great fortunes made !' irascibly responded Mr. Galloway. 
* Pittances, that folks go out with, are lost, when they are such as 
he. That's what it is. Harem-scarem chaps who won't work, can 
do no good at Port Natal. Great fortunes made, indeed ! I wonder 
that you can be led away by notions so wild and extravagant, Lady 
Augusta r 

* I am not led away by them,' peevishly returned Lady Augusta, 
a recollection of her own elation on the point darting unpleasantly 
to her mind. * Where would have been the use of my holding out 
against it, when he had got his heart upon the thing ? He would 
have gone in spite of me. Do you not think fortunes are made there, 
Mr. Galloway?' 

' I am sure they are not, by such as Poland,' was the rejjly. ' A 
man who works one hour in the day, and plays eleven, would dj 
less good at Port Natal than he would in his own country. A busi- 
ness man, thoroughly industrious, and possessing some capital, may 
make something at Port Natal, as he would at any other port, li- 



1 



THK CHANNIXOS. 399 

the course of years he might realize a fortune —in the course of 
years^ I say, Lady Augusta.' 

This was not precisely the prospect Eoland had pictured to Lady 
Augusta, or to which her own imagination had lent its hues, and 
she stood in consternation nearly equal to Mr. Galloway's. * What 
on earth will he do, then, when he gets there ?' ejaculated she. 

' Find out his mistake, my lady, and come home without a coat 
to his back, as hundreds have done before him, and worked their 
passage home, to get here. It is to be hoped he will have to do tlio 
same. It will teach him what work is.' 

* There never was such an unhappy mother as I am !' bewailed 
my lady. * They will do just as they like, and always would, from 
George downwards : they won't listen to me. Poor dear boy ! re- 
duced, perhaps, to live on brown bread and pea-soup !' 

'And lucky to get that!' cried angry Mr. Galloway. 'But the 
present question. Lady Augusta, is not what he may do when he 
gets to Port Natal, but what I am to do without him here. Look 
at the position it has placed me in !' 

Lady Augusta could give neither help nor counsel. In good truth, 
it was not her fault. But she saw that Mr. Galloway seemed to 
think it was hers, or that it was partially hers. She departed home 
again, feehng cross with Eoland, feeling damped about his expedi- 
tion, and beginning to fancy that Port Natal might not, after all, 
bring her diamonds to wear, or ofier her streets paved with mala- 
chite marble to drive upon. 

Mr. Galloway sat down, and reiterated the question in relation 
to himself, which Lady Augusta had put regarding Roland when 
he should arrive at Port Natal — What on earth was he to do ? He 
could not close his oflBce ; he could not perform its various duties 
himself; he could not be out of doors and in, at one and the same 
time, unless, indeed, he cut himself in two ! What was he to do ? 

It was more than Mr. Galloway could tell. He put his two 
hands upon his knees, and stared in consternation, feeling himself 
grow hot and cold alternately. Could Eoland — then whirling along 
in the train, reclining at his ease, his legs up on the opposite cushion 
as he enjoyed a luxurious pipe, to the inestimable future benefit of 
the carriage — have taken a view of Mr. Galloway and his discomfi- 
ture, his delight would have been unbounded. 

' Incorrigible as he was, he was better than nobody,' ejaculated 
Mr. Galloway, rubbing up his flaxen curls. ' He could keep office; 
if he did not do much in it ; he received and answered callers ; he 
went out on hasty messages ; and, upon a pinch, he did accomplish 



400 THE CHANNIxVGS. 

an hour or so's copying. I am down on my beam-ends, and no mis- 
take. Wliat a simpleton the fellow must be ! Port Natal, indeed, 
for him ! If Lord Carrick were not own brother to my lady, ho 

might have the sense to stop it. Why, he ' 

Arrival the first, and nobody to answer it but Mr. Galloway ! A 
fly had driven up and stopped at the door. Nobody appeared to 
bo getting out of it, so Mr. Galloway, perforce, proceeded to see 
what it wanted. It might contain one of the chapter, or the dean 
himself ! 

But, by the time he reached the pavement, the inmates were 
descending. A short lady, in a black bonnet and short black skirts, 
had let herself out on the opposite side, and had come round to 
assist somebody out on this. Was it a ghost, or was it a man 1 
His cheeks were hollow and hectic, his eyes were glistening as 
with fever, his nostrils and his chest heaved in concert. He had 
got a fur boa wrapped round his neck, and his overcoat hung in 
plaits on his tall, attenuated form, which seemed too weak to 
support itself, or to get down the fly steps without being lifted 
down. 

' Now don't you be in a hurry !' the lady was saying, in a cross 
lone. * You'll come pitch into the mud with your nose. Cant you 
wait ? It's my belief you are wanting to do it. Here, let me get 
firm hold of you; you know you are as weak as ever was a 
rat 1' 

You may recognize the voice as belonging to Mrs. Jenkins, and 
that poor shadow could be nobody but Jenkins himself, for tliero 
ceiiainly was not another like it in all Heistonleigh. Mr. Galloway 
stood in astonishment, wondering what this new move could mean. 
The descent accomplished, Jenkins was conducted by his wife 
through the passage to the office. He went straight to his old place 
at his desk, and sat down on his stool, his chest palpitating, hif 
breath coming in great sighs— great heaving bursts. Laying his 
hat beside him, he turned respectfully to Mr. Galloway, who had 
followed him in, speaking with all his native humility — 

* I have come, sir, to do what I can for you in this emergency.' 

And there he stopped — coughing, panting, shaking ; looking 
like a man more fit to be lying on his dying bed than to be keeping 
office. Mr. Galloway gazed at him with compassion. He said 
nothmg. Jenkins at that moment could neither have heard nor 
answered, and Mrs. Jenkins was out, paying the fly-driver. 

The paroxysm was not over when she came in. She approached 
Jenkins, slightly shook him — her mode of easing the cough — dived 



I 



THE CHANNINGS. 401 

In his pockets for Lis silk handkerchief, with which she wiped his 
brow, took ofif the fur from his neck, waited till he was quiet, and 
began — 

' I hope you are satisfied ! If you are not, you ought to be. 
Who's to know whether you'll get back alive ? 7 don't.' 

* What did he come for ?' asked Mr. Galloway. 

' Ah !' said Mrs. Jenkins, ' that's just what I want to know ! Ae 
if he could do any good in the state he is ! Look at him, sir.* 

Poor Jenkins, who was indeed a sight to be looked at, turned hia 
wan face upon Mr. Galloway. 

*■ I cannot do much, sir, I know ; I wish I could : but I can sit in 
the ofiBce — at least, I hope I can— just to take care of it while you 
are out, sir, until you can find somebody to replace Mr. Eoland.' 

* How did you know he was gone off?' demanded Mr. Galloway. 

' It was in this way,' interposed Mrs. Jenkins, ages before poor 
Jenkins could gather breath to answer. ' I was on my hands and 
kaees, brushing the fluff off my drawing-room carpet this morning, 
when I heard something tearing up the stairs at the rate of a 
coach-and-six. Who should it be but young Mr. Yorke, on his way 
to Jenkins in bed, without saying so much as *' With your leave," 
or "By your leave." A minute or two, and down he came again, 
gave mo a little touch of his impudence, and was gone before I could 
answer. Well, sir, I kept on at my room, and when it was done I 
went downstairs to see about the breakfast, never suspecting what 
was going on with him ' — pointing her finger at Jenkins. * I was 
pouring out his tea when it was ready to take up to him, and 
putting a bit of something on a plate, which I intended to make 
him cat, when I heard somebody creeping down the stairs — stum- 
bhng, and panting, and coughing — and out I rushed. There stood 
he — he, Mr. Galloway ! dressed and washed, as you see him now ! 
he that has not got up lately till evening, and me dressing him, 
then! "Have you took leave of your senses?" said I to him. 
"No," said he, "my dear, but I must go to the office to-day: I 
can't help myself. Young Mr. Yorke's gone away, and there'll be 
nobody." "And good luck go with him, for all the use he's of here, 
getting you out of your bed," said I. If Jenkins were as strong 
«as he'd used to be, Mr. Galloway, I should have felt tempted 
to treat him to a shaking, and then, perhaps, he'd have remem- 
bered it r 

* IVIr. Roland told me he was going away, sir, and that you had 
nobody to replace him ; indeed, I gathered that you were ignorant 
of the step, struck in the quiet, meek voice of poor Jenkins. ' I 

2d 



402 THE CHANNINQS. 

could not stay away, sir, knowing the perplexity you would be 
put to.' 
* No, it's my belief he could not,' tartly chimed in Jenkins's lady. 

* He would have tantalised himself into a fever. "Why, Mr. Gallo- 
way, had I marched him back to his bed and turned the key upon 
him, he'd have been capable of letting himself down by a cord from 
his window, in the face and eyes of all the street, could he have found 
a pulley to tie it to. Now, Jenkins, I'll have none of your contra- 
diction ! you know you would.' 

' My dear, I am not contradicting ; I am not well enough to con- 
tradict,' panted poor Jenkins. 

*He would have come off there and then, all by himself: he 
would, Mr. Galloway, as I am a living sinner !' she hotly continued. 
' It's unbeknown how he'd have got here — holding on by the wall, 
like a snail, or fastening himself on to the tail of a cart ; but try at 
it, in some way, he would ! Be quiet, Jenkins ! How dare you 
attempt to interrupt !' 

Poor Jenkins had not thought to interrupt ; he was only making 
a movement to pull off his greatcoat. .Mrs. Jenkins resumed — 

' "No," said I to him ; " if you must go, you shall be conveyed 
there, but you don't start without your breakfast." So I sat him 
do^vn in his chair, Mr. Galloway, and gave him his breakfast — such 
as it was ! If there's one thing that Jenkins is obstinate in, above 
all others, it's about eating. Then I sent Lydia for a fly, and 
wrapped up his throat in my boa — and that he wanted to fight 
against ! — and here he is !' 

' I wished to get here, sir, before you did,' crLod Jenkins, meekly. 

* I Knew the exertion would set me coughing at first, but, if I had 
sat awhile before you saw me, I should not have seemed so incap- 
able. I shall be better presently, sir.' 

' What arc you at with that coat ?' tartly asked Mrs. Jenkins. 

* I declare youi* hands are never at rest. Your coat's not to come 
off, Jenkins. The office is colder than our parlour, and you'll keep 
it on.' 

Jenkins, humbly obeying, began to turn up the cuffs. ' I can do 
a little writing, sir,' he said to Mr. Galloway. ' Is there anything 
that is in a hm-ry ?' 

' Jenkins,' said Mr. Galloway, * I could not suffer you to write ; 
1 could not keep you here. Were I to allow you to stop, in the 
state you are, just to seiTC me, I should lay a weight upon my 
conscience.' 

Mrs. Jenkins looked up in triumph. ' You bear, Jenkins ! What 



4 



THE CHANNINGS. 4.03 

did I tell you ? I said I'd let you have your way for once — 'twai 
but the cost of the fly ; but that if Mr. Galloway kept you here, 
once he set eyes on your poor creachy body, I'd eat him.' 

'Jenkins, my poor fellow!' said Mr. Galloway, gravely, 'you 
must know that you are not in a state to exert yourself. I shall 
not forget your kindness ; but you must go back at once. Why, 
the very draught from the frequent opening of the door would do 
you an injury ; the exertion of speaking to answer callers would ba 
too much for you.' 

' Didn't I tell you so, Jenkins, just in them very words ?' inter- 
rupted the lady. 

' I am aware that I am not strong, sir,' acknowledged Jenkins to 
Mr. Galloway, with a deprecatory glance towards his wife to be 
allowed to speak. * But it is better I should be put to a trifle of 
inconvenience than that you should, sir. I can sit here, sir, while 
you are obliged to be out, or occupied in your private room. What 
could you do, sir, left entirely alone ?' 

' I don't know what I can do,' returned Mr. Galloway, with an 
acerbity of tone equal to that displayed by Mrs. Jenkins, for the 
question recalled all the perplexity of his position. 'Sacrifice 
yourself to me, Jenkins, you shall not. What absurd folly can have 
taken off Roland Yorke ?' he added. * Do you know ?' 

' No, sir, I don't. When Mr. Eoland came in this morning, and 
said he was really off", you might have knocked me down with a 
feather. He would often get talking about Port Natal, but I 
never supposed it would como to anything. Mr. Eoland was one 
given to talk.* 

' He had some tea at our house the other night, and was talking 
about it then,' struck in Mrs. Jenkins. * He said he was worked to 
death.' 

* Worked to death !' satirically repeated Mr. Galloway. 

'I'm afraid, sir, that, through my unfortunate absence, he has 
found the work heavier, and he grew dissatisfied,* said JenkinF. 

* It has troubled me very much.' 

' You spoilt him, Jenkins ; that's the fact,' observed Mr. Galloway, 
' You did his work and your own. Idle young dog ! He'll get a 
sickener at Port Natal.' 

* There's one thing to be thankful for, sir,' said patient Jenkins, 

* that he has got his uncle, the Earl, to fall back upon.* 

'Hark at him!' interrupted Mr. Jenkins. 'That's just liko 
him ! He'd be " thankful" to hear that his worst enemy had an 
uncle to fall back upon. That's Jeukius all over. But now, what 

2 D 2 



104 THE CHANNINGS. 

is to be the next movement ?' sTie sharply demanded. * I must 
get back to my shop. Is he to come with me, or to stop here — a 
spectacle for everybody that comes in ?' 

But at this moment, before the question could be decided — 
though you may rest assured Mrs. Jenkins would only allow it to 
be decided in her own way — hasty footsteps were heard in the 
passage, and the door was thrown open by Arthur Channing. 



CHAPTEE LII. 

A RELIC FROM THE BURIAL-GROUND. 

When Hamish Channing joined the breakfast-table at home that 
morning at nine o'clock, he mentioned his adventure at the station 
with Lady Augusta Yorke. It was the first intimation they had 
received of Eoland's departure ; indeed, the first that some of 
them had heard of his intention to depart. 

Arthur laid down his knife and fork. To him alone conld the 
full consequences of the step present themselves, as regarded Mr. 
Galloway. 

' Hamish ! he cannot actually have gone ?' 

* That he is actually off by the train to London, I can certify,' 
was the reply of Hamish. ' Whether he will be off to Port Natal, 
Is another thing. He desired me to tell you, Arthur, that he 
should write his adieu to you from town.' 

' He might have come to see me,' observed Arthur, a shade of 
resentment in his tone. * I never thought he would really go.' 

' I did,' said Hamish, * funds permitting him. If Lord Carrick 
will supply those, he'll be gone by the first comfortable ship. His 
mind was so entirely bent upon it.' 

' What can he think of doing at Port Natal ?' inquired Constance, 
wonderingly. 

'Making his fortune.' But Hamish laughed as he said it. 
'Wherever I may have met him latterly, his whole talk has been of 
Port Natal. Lady Augusta says he is going to take out frying- 
pans to begin vrith.' 

' Hamish !' 

* She said so, Constance. I have no doubt Poland said so to her. 
I should like to see the sort of cargo he will lay in for the start.' 

'What does Mr. Galloway say to it, I wonder?' exclaimed 
Arthur, that gentleman's perplexities presenting themselves to his 
mind above everything else. ' I cannot think what he will do 



i 



d 



THE CIIANXINGS. 4.05 

* I liavo an idea that Mr. Galloway is as yet unaware of it,' said 
Haraish. ' lloland assured me that no person whatever knew of 
his departure, except Jenkins. He called upon him on his way to 
the station.' 

* Unaware of it !' Arthur fell into consternation great as Mr. 
Galloway's, as he repeated the words. Was it possible that Eoland 
had stolen a march on Mr. Galloway? He relapsed into silence 
and thought. 

' What makes you so sad ?* Constance asked of Arthur later, 
when they were dispersing to their several occupations. 

' I am not sad, Constance ; only thoughtful. I have been carrj - 
ing on an inward battle,' he added, half laughingly. 

' With your conscience ?' 

* With my spirit. It is a proud one yet, in spite of all I have 
had to tame it ; a great deal more rebellious than I like it to be.' 

' Why, what is the matter, Arthur ?' 

'Constance, I think I ought to come forward and help Mr. 
Galloway out of this strait. I think my duty lies in doing it.' 

' To return to his office, you mean?' 

' Yes ; until he can see his way out of the wood. But it goes 
against the grain.' 

* Arthur dear, I know you will do it,' she gently said. ' Were 
our duty always pleasant to us, where would be the merit in 
fulfilling it?' 

* I shall do it,' he answered. ' To that I have made up my mind. 
The difficulty is, Constance, to do it with a good grace.' 

She looked at him with a loving smile. ' Only try. A firm will, 
Arthur, will conquer even a rebellious spirit.' 

Arthur knew it. He knew how to set about it. And a little 
later, he was on his way to Close Street, with the best grace in the 
world. Not only to appearance, mind you, but inwardly. It is a 
GREAT thing, reader, to conquer the risings of a proud spirit ! To 
bring it from its haughty, rebellious pedestal, down to cordiality 
and love. Have you learnt the way ? 

Some parchments under his arm, for he had stayed to collect 
them together, Arthur bounded in to Mr. Galloway's. The first 
object his eyes fell on was that shadowy form, coughing and pant- 
ing. ' Oh, Jenkins !' he involuntarily uttered, * what do you do out 
of your house ?' 

' Anxiety for me has brought him out,' said Mr. Gailoway 
' How can I scold him ?* 

* I could not rest, sir, knowing my master was alone in his need, 



406 THE CHANNINGS 

cried JenTcins to Arthur. * What is to become of the oflBce, sir, 
with nobody in it ?' 

* But he is not alone,' said Arthur ; and, if he had wanted a 
reward for coming forward, that moment would have supplied it, 
in the satisfying of poor Jenkins. ' If you will allow me, sir,' 
Arthur added, turning frankly to Mr. Galloway, ' I will take my 
place here, until you shall be suited.' 

'Thank you,' emphatically replied Mr. Galloway. *It will 
relieve me from a serious embarrassment.' 

Arthur went to his old desk, and sat down on his old stool, and 
began settling the papers and other things on it, just as though he 
had not been absent an hour. ' I must still attend the Cathedral 
as usual, sir,' he observed to Mr. Galloway ; ' but I can give you 
up the whole of my other time. I shall be better for you than 
nobody.' 

' I would rather have you here than anybody else, Channing, 
he' — laying his hand on Jenkins's shoulder — * excepted. I offered 
for you to return before.' 

' I know you did, sir,' replied Arthur, in a brief tone — one that 
seemed to intimate he would prefer not to pursue the subject. 

' And now are you satisfied ?* struck in Mrs. Jenkins to her 
husband. 

' I am more than satisfied,* answered Jenkins, clasping together 
his hands. * With Mr. Arthur in the oflBce, I shall have no fear ot 
its missing me, and I can go home in peace, to die.' 

* Please just to hold your tongue about dying,' reprimanded 
Mrs Jenkins. 'Your business is to get well, if you can. And 
now I am going to see after a fly. A pretty dance I should have 
had here, if he had persisted in stopping, bringing him messes and 
cordials every other half-hour ! Which would have worn out first, 
I wonder, — the pavement or my shoes ?' 

* Channing,' said Mr. Galloway, ' let us understand each other. 
Have you come here to do anything there may be to do — out-of- 
doors as well as in ? In short, to be my clerk as heretofore ?' 

' Of course I have, sir ; until ' — Arthur spoke very distinctly— 
* until you shall be able to suit yourself; not longer.' 

*Then take this paper round to Deering's office, and got it 
signed. You will have time to do it before college.' 

Arthur's answer was to put on his hat, and vault away with the 
paper. Jenkins turned to Mr. Galloway as soon as they were 
alone. Oh ! sir, keep him in your office !' he earnestly said. * He 
will soon be of more value to you than I have ever been !' 



THE CHANNING8. ifft 

* That he Avill not, Jenkins. Nor anybody else.* 

* Yes, he will, sir I He will be able to replace you in the chapter- 
house upon any emergency, and I never could do that you know, 
pir, not being a gentleman. When you have him to yourself 
alone, sir, you will see his value ; and I shall not be missed. He 
is steady and thoughtful beyond his years, sir, and every day will 
make him older.' 

'You forget the charge against him, Jenkins. Until he shall 
be cleared of that — if he can bo cleared of it — ho will not be of 
great value to any one, certainly not to me.' 

* Sir,' said Jenkins, raising his wan face, its hectic deepening, 
and his eye lighting, while his voice sunk to a whisper, so deep 
as to savour of solemnity, ' that time will come ! He never did it, 
and he will as surely be cleared, as that I am now saying it ! Sir, 
I have thought much about this accusation ; it has troubled me in 
sleep ; but I know that God will bring tho right to light for those 
who trust in Him. If anybody ever put their trust in God, it is 
Mr. Arthur Channing. I lie and think of all this, sir. I seem to 
be so near God, now,' Jenkins went on dreamily, ' that I know 
the right must come to light; that it will come in God's onvu 
good time. And I believe I shall live to see it !' 

' You have certainly firm faith in his innocence, Jenkins. How 
then do you account for his very suspicious manner ?' 

* It docs not weigh with me, sir. I could as soon believe a good 
wholesome apple-tree would bring forth poisonous berries, as that 
Mr. Arthur would bo guilty of a deliberately bad action. Some- 
times I have thought, sir, when puzzling over it, that he may be 
screening another. There's no telling how it was. I hear, sir, 
that the money has been returned to you.' 

' Yes. Was it he who told you T 

*It was Mr. Eoland Yorke who told me, sir. Mr. Eoland is 
another, sir, who has had firm faith in his innocence from the first.' 

' Much his faith goes for 1' ejaculated Mr. Galloway, as he came 
back from his private room with a letter, which he handed to 
Jenkins, who was skilled in caligraphy. ' What do you make of 
it ?' he asked. * It is the letter which came with the returned 
money.' 

' It is a disguised hand, sir, — there's no doubt of that,' replied 
Jenkins, when he had surveyed it critically. *I do not remember 
to have seen any person wTite like it.' 

Mr. Galloway took it back to his room, and presently a fly 
drove up with Mrs. Jenkins inside it. Jenkins stood at the olfico 



408 THE CHANNIKGS. 

door, his hat in his hand, and his face turned upon the room. 
Mrs. Jenkins came up and seized his arm, to marshal him to the 

fly. 

' I was but taking a farewell of things, sir,' he observed to Mr. 
Galloway. ' I shall never see the old spot again.' 

Arthur arrived just as Jenkins was got in. lie put his hand 
over the door. ' Make yourself easy, Jenkins ; it will all go on 
smoothly here. Good-bye, old fellow ! I'll come and see you very 
soon.' 

' How he breaks, does he not, sir ?' exclaimed Arthur to Mr. 
Galloway. 

* Ay ! he's not long for this world !* 

The fly proceeded on its way ; Mrs. Jenkins, with her snappish 
manner, though really not unkind heart, lecturing Jenkins on his 
various shortcomings until it drew up at their o>vn door. As 
Jenkins was being helped down from it, one of the college boys 
passed at a great speed; a railroad was nothing to it. It was 
Stephen Bywater. Something, legitimate or illegitimate, had 
detained him, and now the college bell was going. 

He caught sight of Jenkins, and, hurried as he was, much of 
punishment as he was bargaining for, it had such an effect upon him, 
that he pulled up short. Was it a man or a shadow? Was it 
Jenkins, or his ghost ? Bywater had never been so struck with 
any sight before. 

The most appropriate way in which it occurred to him he could 
give vent to his surprise, was to prop his back against the shop 
door-post, and indulge in a soft, prolonged whistle. He could not 
take his eyes from Jenkins's face. ' Is it you, or your shadow, 
Jenkins'?' he asked, making room for the invalid to pass. 

' It's myself, sir, thank you. I hope you are well, sir.' 

* Oh, I'm always jolly,' replied Bywater, and then he began to 
whistle again. 

He followed Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins into the shop with his eyes ; 
that is, they followed Jenkins. Bywater had heard, as a matter of 
necessity, of Jenkins's illness, and had given as much thought to it 
as he would have done if told Jenkins had the headache ; but to 
fancy him like this, had never occurred to Bywater. 

Now somewhere beneath Bywater's waistcoat, there really was 
a little bit of heart ; and, as he thus looked, a great fear began to 
thump against it. He followed Jenkins into the parlour. Mrs. 
Jenkins, after divesting Jenkins of his coat, and her boa, planted 
him right before the fire in his easy-chair, with a pillow, to his 



THE 0HANNING8. 409 

back, and was now wliisking down into the kitchen, regardless of 
certain customers waiting in the shop to be served. 

Bywater, unasked, sat himself down in a chair near to poor 
Jenkins and his panting breath, and indulged in another long stare 
' I say, Jenkins,' said he, ' what's the matter with you ?' 

Jenkins took the question literally. 'I believe it may be called 
a sort of decline, sir. I don't know any other name for it.' 

* Shan't you get well ?' 

* Oh, no, sir ! I don't look for that, now.' 

The fear thumped at By water's heart worse than before. A past 
vision of locking up old Ketch in the cloisters, through which 
pastime Jenkins had come to a certain fall, was uncomfortably 
present to Bywater just then. He had been the ringleader. 

' What brought it on ?' asked he. 

'Well, sir, I suppose it was to come,' meekly replied Jenkins. 
' I have had a bad cough, spring and autumn, for a long while now, 
Master Bywater. My brother went off just the same, sir, and so 
did my mother.' 

Bywater pushed his honest, red face, forward ; but it was not 
looking quite so impudent as usual. ' Jenkins,' said he, plunging 
headlong into the fear, ' did — that — fall — do — it ?' 

'Fall, sir! What fall?' 

* That fall down from the organ loft. Because that was my 
fault. I had the most to do with locking up the cloisters, that 
night.' 

' Oh, bless you, sir, no ! Never think that. Master Bywater ' — 
loM'ering his voice till it was as grave as Bywater's — ' that fall did 
mc good — good, sir, instead of harm.' 

' How do you make out that ? ' asked Bywater, drawing his breath 
a little easier. 

'Because, sir, in the few days' quiet that I had in bed, my 
thoughts seemed in an unaccountable mannertobe drawn to thinking 
of heaven. I can't rightly describe, sir, how or why it could have 
been. I remember his lordship the bishop talked to me a little bit 
in his pleasant, affable way, about the necessity of always being 
prepared ; and my wife's Bible lay on the drawers by my bed's 
head, and I used to pick up that. But I don't think it was either 
of those causes much : I believe, sir, that it was God Himself work- 
ing in my heart. I believe He sent the fall in His good mercy. 
After I got up I seemed to know that I should soon go to Him ; 
and — I hope it is not wrong to say it — I seemed to wish to go. ' 

Bywater felt somewhat puzzled. * I am not speaking about your 



410 THE CHANNINGS. 

heart and religion, and all that, Jenkins. I want to know if tho 
fall helped to bring on this illness ?' 

* No, sir ; it had nothing to do with it. The fall hurt my head a 
little — nothing more ; and I got well from it directly. This illness, 
which has been taking me off, must have been born with me.' 

* Hoo ' Bywater's shout, as he tossed up his trencher, was 

broken in upon by Mrs. Jenkins. She had been beating up an egg 
with sugar and wine, and now brought it in a tumbler. 

' My dear,' said Jenkins, ' I don't feel to want it.' 
'Not want it!' said Mrs. Jenkins resolutely. And in two 
seconds she had laid hold of him, and it was down his throat. ' 1 
can't stop parleying hero all day, with my shop alive with cus- 
tomers.' Bywater laughed, and she retreated. 

* If I could eat gold, sir, she'd get it for me,' said Jenkins ; ' but 
my appetite fails. She's a good wife. Master Bywater.' 

* Stunning,' acquiesced Bywater. ' I wouldn't mind a wife my- 
self, if she'd feed me up with eggs and wine.' 

' But for her care, sir, I should not have lasted so long. She 
has had great experience with the sick.' 

Bywater did not answer. Eising to go, his eyes had fixed 
themselves upon some object on the mantel-piece, as pertinaciously 
as they had previously been fixed upon Jenkins's face. *I say, 
Jenkins, where did you get this?' he exclaimed. 

•That, sir.? Oh I remember. My old father brought it in 
yesterday. He had cut his hand with it. Where now did he say 
he found it ? In the college burial-yard, I think, Master Bywater.' 

It was part of a small broken phial, of a peculiar shape, which 
had once apparently contained ink ; an elegant shape, it may be 
said, not unlike a vase. Bywater began turning it about in his 
fingers ; he waa literally feasting his eyes upon it. 

' Do you want to keep it, Jenkins?' 

'Not at all, sir. I wonder my M'ife did not throw it away 
before this.' 

'I'll take it, then,' said Bywater, slipping it into his pocket. 
' And now I'm off. Hope you'll get better, Jenkins.' 

' Thank you, sir. Let me put the broken bottle in paper. 
Master Bywater. You will cut your fiingers if you carry it loose 
in your pocket.' 

* Oh, that be bothered !' answered Bywater. ' Who cares for 
cut fingers ?' 

He pushed himself through Mrs. Jenkins's shop of customers, 
with as little ceremony as Eoland Yorke might have used, and 



I 



THE CHANNINGS, 411 

went flyiug towards the Cathedral. The bell ceased as he entered. 
The organ pealed forth; andfcha dean and chapter, preceded by 
Bome of the bedesmen, were entering from the opposite door. 
Bywater ensconced himself behind a pillar, until they should have 
traversed the body, crossed the nave, and were safe in the choir. 
Then he came out, and made his way to old Jenkins the bedesman. 
The old man, in his black gown, stood near the bell ropes, for 
he had been one of the ringers that day. Bywater noticed that he 
had got his left hand partially tied up in a handkerchief. 

* Holloa, old Jenkins,' said he, sotte voce, ' what have you done 
with your hand ?' 

'I gave it a nasty cut yesterday, sir, just in the ball of the 
thumb. I wrapped my handkercher round it just now, for fear of 
opening it again, while I was ringing the bell. See,' said he, 
taking off the handkerchief and showing the place to Bywater. 

* What an old muff you must be, to cut yourself like that !' 
*But I didn't do it for the purpose,' returned the old man. 

' "We was ordered into the burial-ground to put it a bit to rights, 
and I fell down with my hand on a broken phial. I ain't as active 
as I was. I say, though, sir, do you know that service has 
begun ?' 

' Let it begin,' returned careless Bywater. * This was the bottle 
you fell over, was it not ? I found it on Joe's mantelpiece, just 
now.' 

* Ay, that was it. It must have laid there sometime. A good 
three months, I know.' 

Bywater nodded his head. He returned the bottle to his pocket, 
and went to the vestry to get his surplice. Then ho slid into 
college under the severe eyes of the Eeverend Mr. Pye, which were 
bent upon him from the chanting desk, and ascended his stall just 
in time to take his part in the Venite, exuUemus Domino. 



CHAPTEE LIU. 

THE EETURN HOME. 

It almost seemed, to the grateful heart of Mr. Channing, as if the 
"weather had prolonged its genial fineness on purpose for him. A 
more charming autumn had never been known at Borcette, and up 
to the very hour of Mr. Channing's departure, there were no signs 
of winter. Taking it as a whole, it had been the same at Helston- 
leigh. Two or three occasional wet days, two or three cold and 



412 THE CHANNINGS. 

\viiidy ones ; but tbey soon passed over : and people remarked to 
each other how this fine weather would shorten the winter. 

Never did November turn out a more lovely day than the one 
that was to witness Mr. Channing's return. The sun shone 
brightly ; the blue sky was without a cloud. All Nature seemed 
to have put on a smiling face to hail him a welcome. And yet — to 
what was he returning ?' 

For once in his life, Hamish Channing shrunk from meeting his 
father and mother. How should he break the news to them? 
They were arriving full of joy, of thankfulness at the restoration 
of health to Mr. Channing : how could Hamish mar it with the 
news regarding Charles ? Told it must be ; and he must be the 
one to do it. In good truth, Hamish was staggered at the task. 
His own hopeful belief that Charley would some day * turn up,' 
was beginning to die out ; for every hour that dragged by, without 
bringing him, certainly gave less and less chance of it. And even 
if Hamish had retained hope himself, it was not likely he could 
impart it to Mr. or Mrs. Channing. 

'I shall get leave from school this afternoon,' Tom suddenly 
exclaimed that morning at breakfast. 

' For what purpose ?' inquu-ed Hamish. 

* To go up to the station and meet them.' 

' No, Tom. You must not go to the station. 
' Who says so ?' sharply cried Tom. 

* I do,' replied Hamish. 

'I daresay! that's good!' returned Tom, speaking in his hasty 
spirit. ' You know you are going yourself, Hamish, and yet you 
would like to deprive me of the same pleasure. Why, I'd not miss 
being there for anything ! Don't say, Hamish, that you are never 
selfish.' 

Hamish turned upon him with a smile, but his tone changed to 
sadness. ' I wish with all my heart, Tom, that you or somebody 
else, could go and meet them, instead of myself, and undertake 
what I shall have to do. I can tell you I never had a task imposed 
upon me that I found so uncongenial as the one I must go thi'ough 
this day.' 

Tom's voice dropped a little of its fierce bhade. ' But, Hamish, 
there's no reason why I should not meet them at the station. That 
will not make it the better or the worse for you.' 

' I will tell you why I think you should not,' replied Hamish ; 
* why it will be better that you should not. It is most desirable 
that they should be home, here, in this house, before the tidings 



I 



THU OHANNINGS. 413 

aro broken to them. I should not like them to hear of it in the 
streets, or at the station ; especially my mother.' 

* Of course not,' assented Tom. 

' And, were you at the station,' quietly went on Hamish to him, 
•the first question would be, "Where's Charley?" If Tom Chan- 
nin^ can get leave of absence from school, Charley can.' 

' I could say ' 

* Well?' said Hamish, for Tom had stopped. 

* I don't know what I could say,' acknowledged Tom. 

' Nor I. My boy, I have thought it over, and the conclusion I 
come to, if you appear at the station, is this : either that the 
tidings must be told to them, then and there, or else an evasion, 
bordering upon an untruth. If they do not see you there, they 
will not inquire particularly after Charles ; they will suppose you 
aro both in school.' 

* I declare I never set my mind upon a thing but some hindrance 
starts in to frustrate it !' cried Tom, in vexation. But he relin- 
quished his intention from that moment. 

Chattering Annabel threw up her head. * As soon as papa and 
mamma come home, we shall put on mourning, shall we not? 
Constance was talking about it with Lady Augusta.' 

' Do not talk of mourning, child,' returned Hamish. * I can't 
give him up, if you do.' 

Afternoon came, and Hamish proceeded alone to the station. 
Tom, listening to the inward voice of reason, was in school, and 
Arthur was occupied in the Cathedral ; the expected time of their 
arrival being towards the close of afternoon service. Hamish had 
boasted that he should walk his father through Helstonleigh for 
the benefit of beholders, if he happily came home capable of 
walking; but, like poor Tom and his plan, that had to be relin- 
quished. In the first half-dozen paces they would meet half-a- 
I^Hdozen gossipers, and the first remark from each, after congratula- 
^^Bons, would be, 'What a sad thing this is about your little 
^^Blharles !' Hamish lived in doubt whether it might not, by some 
^■mtoward luck, come out at the station, in spite of his precaution 
Tin keeping away Tom. 

* But, so far, all went well. The train came in to its time, and 
Hamish, his face lighted with excitement, saw his father once more 
in possession of his strength, descending without assistance from 
the carriage, walking alone on the platform. Not in the full 
strength and power of yore: that might never be again. He 
stooped slightly, and moved slowly, as if his limbs were yet stiff, 



414 " THE OHANNINGS. 

limping a little. But that he was now in a good sound state of 
health was evident ; his face betrayed it. Hamish did not know 
whose hands to clasp first ; his, or his mother's. 

* Can you believe that it is myself, Hamish ?' asked Mr. Channing, 
when the first few words of thankful greeting had passed. 

* I should hide my head for ever as a false prophet if it could be 
anybody else,' was the reply of Hamish. * You know I always 
said you would so return. I am only in doubt whether it is my 
mother.' 

' What is the matter with me, Hamish ?' asked Mrs. Channing. 

* Because you would make about two of the thin, pale, careworn 
Mrs. Channing that went away,' cried he, turning his mother round 
to regard her, deep love shining out from his gay blue eyes. ' I 
hope you have not taken to rouge your cheeks, ma'am, but I am 
bound to confess they look uncommonly like it.' 

Mrs. Channing laughed merrily. * It has done me untold good, 
Hamish, as well as papa ; it seems to have set me up for years to 
come. The seeing him grow better day by day would have 
eifected it, without any other change.' 

Mr. Channing had actually gone himself to see after the luggage. 
How strange it seemed ! Hamish caught him up. ' If you can 
give yourself trouble now, sir, there's no reason that you should do 
so, while you have your great lazy son at your elbow.' 

* Hamish, boy, I am proud of doing it.* 

It was soon collected. Hamish hastily, if not carelessly, told a 
porter to look to it, took Mr. Channing's arm, and marched him to 
the fly, which Mrs. Channing had already found. Hamish was in 
lively dread of some officious friend or other coming up, who might 
drop a hint of the state of afiairs. 

' Shall I help you in, father ?' 

' I can help myself now, Hamish. I remember you promised 
mo I should have no fly on my return. You have thought better 
of it.' 

' Yes, sir, wishing to get you home before bed-time, which might 
not be the case if you were to show yourself in the town, and stop 
lor all the interruptions.' 

Mr. Channing stepped into the fly. Hamish followed him, first 
giving the driver a nod. ' The luggage ! The luggage !* exclaimed 
Mrs. Channing, as they moved off. 

'The porter will bring it, mother. He would have been a month 
putting it on the fly.' 

How co/id they suppose anything was the matter. Not a bus- 



i 



THE OHANNINGS. 415 

picion of it ever crossed them. Never had Hamish appeared more 
light-hearted: in fact, in his self-consciousness, Hamish a little 
overdid it. Let him get them home before the worst came ! 

' We find you all well, I conclude !' said Mrs. Channing. * None 
of them came up with you ! Arthur is in college, I suppose, and 
Tom and Charles are in school.' 

' It was Arthur's hour for college,' remarked Hamish, conve- 
niently ignoring the rest of the sentence. *But he ought to be out 
now. Arthur is at Galloway's again,' he added. *He did not 
write you word, I believe, as you were so shortly expected home.' 

Mr. Channing turned his glance on his son like lightning. 
'Cleared, Hamish?' 

' In my opinion, yes. In the opinion of others, I fear not much 
more than he previously was.' 

' And himself?' asked Mr. Channing. * What does he say now ?' 

' He does not speak of it to me.* 

Hamish put his head out at the window as he spoke, nodding to 
somebody who was passing. A question of Mr. Channing's called 
it in again. 

* Why has he gone back to Galloway's ?' 

Hamish laughed. ' Roland Yorke took an impromptu departure 
one fine morning, for Port Natal, leaving the office and IVIi-. 
Galloway to do the best they could with each other. Arthur 
buried his grievances and offered himself to Mr. Galloway in the 
emergency. I am not quite sure that I should have been so 
forgiving.' 

* Hamish ! He has nothing to forgivis Mr. Galloway. It is on 
the other side.' 

*I am uncharitable, I suppose, remarked Hamish. *I cannot 
like Mr. Galloway's treatment of Arthur.' 
' But what is it you say about Eoland Yorke and Port Natal ?' 
iterposed Mrs. Channing. ' I do not understand.' 

* Eoland is really gone, mother. He has been in London these ten 
days, and it is expected that every post will bring news that he has 
sailed. Eoland has picked up a notion somewhere that Port Natal 
is an enchanted land, converting poor men into rich ones ; and ho 
is going to try what it will do for him, Lord Carrick fitting him 
out. Poor Jenkins is sinldng fast.' 

' Changes ! changes !' remarked Mr. Channing. * Go away but 
for two or three months, and you must find them on return. Some 
gone ; some dying ; some ' 

' Some restored, who were looked upon as incurable/ intcrruptei? 



416 TIIB OHANNINGS. 

Hainisli. ' My dear father, I will not have y ^u dwell on dark 
things the very moment of your arrival ; the time for that will 
come soon enough.' 

Judy nearly betrayed all; and Constance's aspect might have 
betrayed it, had the travellers been suspicious. She, Constance, 
Ciimo forward in the hall, white and trembling. "When Mi-s. 
Chimning shook hands with Judy, she put an unfortunate question 
— 'Have you taken good care of your boy?' Judy knew it could 
only allude to Charles, and for an answer she set up a noise, 
between a cry and a sob, that might have been heard in the far-off 
college school-room. Hamish took Judy by the shoulders, bidding 
her go out and see whether any rattletraps were left in the fly, and 
BO turned it oflf. 

They were all together in the sitting-room — Mr. and Mrs. 
Channing, Hamish, Constance, Arthur, and Annabel ; united, happy, 
as friends are and must be when meeting after a separation ; talk- 
ing of this, talking of that, imparting notes of what had occurred 
on either side. Hamish showed himself as busy as the rest ; but 
Hamish felt all the while upon a bed of thorns, for the hands of the 
timepiece were veering on for five, and he must get the communi- 
cation over before Tom came in. At length Mrs. Channing went 
up to her room, accompanied by Constance ; Annabel followed. 
And now came Hamish's opportunity. Arthur had gone back to 
Mr. Galloway's, and he was alone i^ith his father. He plunged 
into it at once ; indeed, there was no time for delay. 

* Father 1' he exclaimed, with deep feeling, his careless manner 
changing as by magic, ' I have very grievous news to impart to 
you. I would not enter upon it before my mother ; though she 
must be told of it also, and at once.' 

Mr. Channing was surprised; more surprised than alarmed. 
Me never remembered to have seen Hamish betray so much emotion, 
A thought crossed his mind that Arthur's guilt might have been 
brought clearly to light. 

* Not that,' said Hamish. *It concerns Father, I do not hke 

to enter upon it ! I shrink from my task. It is very bad news 
indeed.' 

*You, my children, are all well,' cried Mr. Channing, hastily, 
speaking the words as a fact, not as a question. 'What other 
news " very bad " can be in store?* 

* You have not seen us all,* was the answer of Hamish. And 
Mr. Channing, alarmed then, looked inquiringly at him. 

* It concerns Charles. An — an accident has happened to him.' 



THE CHANNINGS. 417 

Mr. Channing sat down and shaded his eyes. He was a moment 
or two before he spoke. * One word, liamish ; is he dead ?* 

IJaraish stood before his father and laid his hand affectionately 
npon his shoulder. 'Father, I ivish I could have prepared you 
better for it !' ho exclaimed, with emotion. * Wo do not know 
whether he is dead or alive.' 

Then he explained — explained more in summary than in detail — 
touching lightly upon the worst features of the case, enlarging 
upon his own hopeful view of it. Bad enough it was, at the best, 
and Mr. Channing found it so. He could feel no hope. In the 
shock of grief, he turned almost with resentment upon Hamish. 

' My son, I did not expect this treatment from you.' 

' I have taken enough blame to myself ; I know he was left in 
my charge,* sadly replied Hamish ; * but, indeed, I do not see how I 
could have helped it. Although I was in the room when he ran 
out of it, I was buried in my own thoughts, and never observed 
his going. I had no suspicion anything was astir that night with 
tlie college boys. Father, I would have saved his life with my 
own !' 

' X am not blaming you for the fact, Hamish ; blame is not due 
to you. Had I been at home myself, present, I might no more 
have stopped his going out than you did. But you ought to have 
acquainted me instantly. A whole month, and I to be left in 
ignorance!' 

* We did it for the best. Father, I assure you that not a stone 
has been left unturned to find him ; alive, or — or dead. You 
could not have done more had you hastened home; and it has 
been so much suspense and grief spared to you.' 

Mr. Channing relapsed into silence. Hamish glanced uneasily 
to that ever-advancing clock. Presently he spoke. 

* My mother must be told before Tom comes home. It will bo 
better that you take the task upon yourself, father. Shall I send 
her in ?' 

Mr. Channing looked at Hamish, as if he scarcely understood 
tlic import of the words. From Hamish he looked to the clock. 
* Ay ; go and send her.' 

Hamish went to his mother's room, and returned with her. But 
he did not enter. He merely opened the door, and shut her in. 
Constance, with a face more scared than ever, came and stood in the 
hall. Annabel stood there. Judy, wringing her hands, and sending 
off short ejaculations of lament in an under tone, came to join 
them, and Sarah sto )d peeping out of the kitchen door. They 

2 B 



418 THE CHANNTNGS. 

remained gazing at the parlour door, dreading the effect of the 
communication that was going on inside. 

' If it had been that great big Tom, it wouldn't matter so much, 
wailed Judith, in a tone of resentment. ' The missis would know 
■^at he'd be safe to turn up, some time or other ; a strong fellow 
like him !' 

A sharp cry within the room. The door was flung open, and 
Mrs. Channing came forth, her face pale, her eyes wild, her hands 
lifted. ' It cannot be true ! It cannot be ! Ilamish ! Judiih ! 
Where is he .^' 

Hamish folded her hands in his, and gently drew her in again. 
They all followed. No reason why they should not, now that the 
communication was made. Almost at the same moment, Mr. 
Huntley arrived. 

Of course, the first thought that had occurred to the minds of 
Mr. and Mrs. Channing was, that had they been at home to direct 
affairs in the search, Charley would have been found. It is tlio 
thought that would occur to us all : we never give other people 
credit for doing as much as we should have done. ' This might 
have been tried, and the other might have been tried.' It makes 
little difference when told that they have been tried ; for then we 
fall back upon some other suggestion. Mrs. Channing reproached 
Hamish with keeping it from them. 

* My dear lady, you must blame me, not him,' interposed Mr. 
Huntley. ' Left to himself, Hamish would have started Arthur off 
to you, post haste. It was I who suggested the desirability of 
keeping you in ignorance ; it was I who brought Hamish to see it : 
and I know that, when the brunt of your gi'ief shall have passed, 
you will acknowledge that it was the best, the wisest, and the 
kindest course.' 

' But there are so many things that we could have suggested ; 
that perhaps none but a father or mother would think of!' urged 
INjtrs. Channing, lifting her yearning face. They wished they could 
see her weep. 

'You could have suggested nothing that has iiot been done,* 
returned Mr. Huntley. 'Believe me, dear Mrs. Channing! We 
have had many good suggestors, many good counsellors. Butterby 
has had the conducting of the search.' 

Mr. Channing turned to them. He was standing at the far 
window. ' I should like to see Butterby.' 

' Ho will be here in an hour's time,' said Hamish. ' I knew you 
would wish to see him, and I requested him to come.' 



^- 



THE CHANNINQS. 419 

• The worst feature of the whole,' put in Judith, with as much 
acrimony as ever was displayed by Mr. Ketch, ' is that them boyfl 
should not have got their deserts. They have not as much as had 
a birching ; and I say that the college masters ought to be hooted. 
I'd " ghost " 'cm !' 

* The punishment lies in abeyance for the present,' explained 
Ilamish. 'A dififerent punishment from any the head-master 

could inflict will be required, should — should ' Hamish stopped. 

lie did not like to say, in the presence of his mother, * should tho 
body be found.' * Some of them are suffering pretty well, as it is,' 
he continued, after a brief pause. ' Master Bill Simms lay in bed 
for a week with fright, and was obliged to have Mr. Hurst to him. 
Kepoi-t goes, that Mr. Hurst soundly flogged his son, by way of a 
commencement, for his share.' 

A pushing open of the outer door, a bang, and hasty footsteps 
in the hall. Tom had arrived. Tom, with his sparkling eyes, hia 
glowing face. They sparkled for his father only in that first 
moment ; his father, who turned and ludlhed to meet him. 

' Oh, papa 1 What baths those must be !' cried honest Tom. 
' If ever I get rich, I'll go over there and make them a present of a 
thousand pounds. To think that nothing else should have cured 
you !' 

' I think something else must have had a hand in curing me, 
Tom.' 

Tom looked up inquiringly. *Ah, papa! You mean God. 

' Yes, my boy. God has cured me. The baths were but instru- 
ments in His hands.' 



CHAPTER LIV. 

* THE ship's drowned.' 

Rejecting all offers of refreshment — the welcome-home inoal 
which Constance had planned, and Judith prepared, both with so 
much loving care — Mr. Channing resolved to seek out Butterby 
at once. In his state of suspense, he could > neither wait, nor eat, 
nor remain still ; it would be a satisfaction only to see Butterby, 
and hear his opinion. 

Mr. Huntley accompanied him ; scarcely less proud than Hamish 
would have been, to walk once more arm in arm with Mr. Channing. 
But, as there is not the least necessity for our going to the police- 

2 E 2 



420 TITE ClIAlNMxVGS. 

station, tor Mr. Butterby could tell ns no more than we already 
know, we will just pay a short visit to Mr. Stephen Bywater. 

That gentleman stood in the cloisters, into which he had seduced 
old Jenkins, the bedesman, having waited for the dusk bour, that 
he might make sure nobody else would be there. Ever since the 
last day you saw old Jenkins in the cathedral, he had been laid up 
in his house, with a touch of what he called his 'rheumatiz.' 
Decrepit old fellows were all the bedesmen, monopolising enough 
* rheumatiz ' between them for half the city. If one was not laid 
up, another would be, especially in winter. However, old Jenkins 
had come out again to-day, to the gratification of Mr. Bywater, 
who had been wanting him. The cloisters were all but dark, and 
Mr. Ketch must undoubtedly be most agreeably engaged, or he 
would have shut up before. 

' Now then, old Jenkins !' Bywater was saying. * You show me 
the exact spot, and I'll give you sixpence for smoke.' 

Old Jenkins hobbled to one of the mullioned windows near to tlie 
college entrance, and looked over into the dim graveyard. * 'Twerc 
about four or six yards oif here,' said he. 

' But I want to know the precise spot,' returned Bywater. ' Get 
over, and show me !' 

The words made old Jenkins laugh. ' Law, sir ! me get over 
there ! You might as well ask me to get over the college. How 
be I to do it ?' 

' I'll hoist you up,' said Bywater. 

* No, no,' answered the man. ' My old bones be past hoisting 
now. I shouldn't never get back alive, once I were propelled over 
into that there grave-yard.' 

Bywater felt considerably discomfited. * What a weak rat you 
must be, old Jenkins ! AVhy, it's nothing !' 

'I know it ain't— for you college gents. 'Twouldn't have been 
much for me when I were your age. Skin nor clothes wara't of 
much account to me then.' 

' Oh, it's that, is it ?' returned Bywater, contemptuously. ' Look 
liere, old Jenkins ! if your things come to the wars, I'll get my imcle 
to look you out some of his old ones. I'll give you sixpence for 
bacca, I say !' 

The old bedesman shook his head. ' If you give me a waggin 
load of baccy, I couldn't try at getting over there. You might just 
as good put a babby in arms on the ground, and tell it to 
walkl* 

' Here ! get out of the way for an old muff ! ' was By water's ro 




THB CHANNINGS, 421 

joimlcr ; and in a second lie had mounted the window-frame, and 
dropped into the burial-ground. 'Now then, old Jenkins, I'll go 
about, and you call out when I come to the right spot.' 

By these means. By water arrived at a solution of the question, 
whereabouts the broken phial was found ; old Jenkins pointing out 
the spot, to the best of his ability. Byis'ater then vaulted back 
again, and alighted safe and sound in the cloisters. Old Jenkins 
asked for his sixpence, 

* Why, you did not earn it !' said Bywater. * You wouldn't get 
over !' 

' A sixpence is always useful to me,' said the old man ! ' and some 
of you gents has 'em in plenty. I ain't paid much ; and Joe, ho 
don't give me much. 'Tain't him ; he'd give away his head, and 
always would — it's her. Precious close she is with the money, 
though she earns a sight of it, I know, at that shop of her'n, and 
keeps Joe like a king. Wine, and all the rest of it, she have got 
for him, since ho was ill. " There's a knife and fork for ye, when- 
ever ye like to come," she says to me, in her tart way. But dcuco 
a bit of money will she give. If it weren't for one and another 
friend a giving me a odd sixpence now and then, Master Bywater, 
I should never hardly get no baccy !' 

' There ; don't botner !' said Bywater, dropping the coin into his 
hand. 

'Why, bless my heart, whos this, a prowling in the cloisters nt 
tliis hour?' exclaimed a well-k